Memorial pool with paddles and nearby bench
Native American warriors have always held places of high honor within the tribe. They are the ones who protect the tribe from outside invasions that endanger people and the land.
Indian people served in the United States military long before they were even given United States citizenship. In fact, between 1917 and 1918, over 10,000 American Indian people enlisted into the armed services to serve in World War I. Although this was the greatest number of enlisted peoples from any one non-Anglo culture, citizenship (with the right to vote) for Native Americans was not granted until 1924. Native Americans account for less than one percent of the total registered population of the United States, yet they provide more military members per capita than any other ethnic group and utilize veterans benefits less than any other group.
This memorial began with the inspiration of Bruce Johnson, beloved Squaxin Island tribal member, Vietnam veteran, and leader who passed away in 2003. Bruce connected with tribal leaders, veterans, youth, and elders and spoke out about the need for a memorial as a place to educate tribal members and the public about the tremendous sacrifice of our warriors.
Today, Native American warriors are the protectors and preservers of the people and land with an important and ongoing role in the life of the tribe. Their presence within the community as tribal heroes is priceless. Squaxin Island veterans are fiercely proud of their service. And the Squaxin Island community is equally proud of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers who have served, and continue to serve, in today’s conflicts and to keep the peace at home. We believe that now is the time to recognize and pay honor to their service and personal sacrifice, and we ask that you to support us in this cause.
The Squaxin Veterans Memorial Committee spent several years determining ways to make the memorial most meaningful. Shaman Architects assisted the committee with the pre-design and Nakano Architects to helped finalize the plan. World-renowned tribal artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo provided design assistance and was commissioned to carve the house post portal. Natural, artistic, spiritual, and cultural elements are present within the large impressions and small design details.