WASHINGTON – The House unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 11 that was sponsored by Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) to allow construction of a memorial to Native American veterans on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. H.R. 2319 passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 398-0.
“I have heard from people I represent and from outside our district that the construction of this memorial means a great deal to Native Americans who served this nation and to their families,” Rep. Mullin said. “It is important that we properly honor these brave soldiers and tell their stories for generations to come.”
The memorial cannot be paid for with taxpayer funds, so H.R. 2319 allows for the museum to raise money for its construction. The legislation has received overwhelming support from the National Congress of American Indians and the National Museum of the American Indian.
“With the recent presentation of the Congressional gold medals to tribal code talkers, it is an appropriate time for a renewed focus and gratitude toward Native Americans who served America in our war efforts and protected our freedoms,” said S. Joe Crittenden, Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation and a U.S. Navy veteran from the Vietnam War. “We applaud Congress for taking the necessary steps to truly honor our warriors and the sacrifices Native families have made to defend this great country of ours.”
Mullin is one of only two Native Americans in Congress. The other is U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) from Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District who also cosponsored H.R. 2319.
“Throughout my life, I have always been proud of my Native American heritage,” stated Rep. Cole. “I am very pleased that the legislation brought to the floor by Congressman Mullin will help facilitate construction of a memorial honoring Native Americans who served our country on the battlefield. It is only right to recognize and remember the significant contributions of those Native American warriors who served our country on the battlefield with great skill and bravery, and there is no better place than the National Museum of the American Indian.”
Tribal leaders praised the passage of H.R. 2319 and its significance to Native Americans.
“We take great pride in the long history of Native American service in the armed forces of the United States,” said Chickasaw Governor Bill Anoatubby. “We owe all these brave men and women a debt of gratitude for what they have done to protect our freedom and our way of life. This memorial is one way we can express our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.”
“Congressman Mullin understands how we as Native People revere our warriors,” said John L. Berrey, Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe. “His dedication to Native Americans is truly from the heart. As the Chairman of the Quapaw Tribe we are honored to have Mullin as our representative.”
“The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma applauds the passage of Representative Mullin’s bill, honoring the dedication and sacrifice of Native veterans,” said Choctaw Chief Gregory E. Pyle. “H.R. 2319 authorizes the Native American Veterans Memorial for tribal veterans from all tribes and all wars. Some of these warriors were fighting for our country before they were even recognized as American citizens. I am very pleased with the passage of this bill and very proud of all the Choctaw veterans and the many other Native soldiers who will be represented by this memorial.”
– Rep. Mullin’s Office