“More than 17,000 Indians volunteer in the U.S. armed forces despite their exclusion from the draft of the nation’s citizens. Even before the U.S. entered the war, others had crossed the border to join Canada’s distinguished 107th Regiment.” *
“When the United States entered World War I a draft was implemented. Indian men were required to register for the draft. However, Indians were not generally considered to be citizens at this time, and most Indian men were therefore not citizens. Citizenship for Indians at this time was not determined by place of birth, but by whether or not they had taken an allotment and were considered ‘competent.’” **
“The rate of death and injury among American Indian soldiers is extremely high because they are often assigned dangerous scouting assignments—missions that many of them view as opportunities to demonstrate their strength as warriors.” ***
“He (G-d) chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence.” I Corinthians I:28-29 Berean Study Bible ****
Thank You today for the commitment of these warriors to protect and serve! Whether they went to defend their tribes, First Nations, the State of Minnesota, or the United States of America is unclear. Perhaps the question “why” they served is immaterial given that many were not conferred with citizenship or an obligatory duty to fight.
Will You forgive our State of its denial of the citizenship of its’ first citizens? Will You forgive the blindness of our laws in this era, both in terms of rights denied and privileges withheld to these men? Will You help us past, present, and future deal justly in the gray areas of our laws? Will You forgive the judgments between citizens and non-citizens?
We humbly remember their service this day, Master! Will You protect and keep their memories, their tribes, and their First Nations? Will You be the keepers of their progeny; and bless forever all who protect voluntarily?
We give You thanks that You are not given to the pettiness of humankind! You overcome our pridefulness, again and again, through humble hearts! Will You make us one Minnesota that will serve You and our neighbors beyond the politically defined boundaries of nations, across the borders of States, outside the familiarity of our tribes?
** Want to gather more about the First Nation contributions during the Great War? Read this article at Native American Netroots. http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/573