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Native Veteran's Memorial

Conversation with Harvey Pratt, Designer of the National Native American Veterans Memorial

In this 2021 interview, Harvey Pratt describes how Native history, culture, and art inspired the design for National Native Americans Veterans Memorial. Watch as he discusses the significance and contributions of Native Americans in the Armed Forces.  

In 2018, the National Museum of Veterans Memorial selected Harvey Pratt, artist, Vietnam Veteran, and citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, to design the national memorial. The memorial, located on the grounds of the National Museum of American Indian in Washington, D.C., honors the military service of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans. 

In this interview, Pratt reveals how he approached the task of designing a public memorial that preserves history but also honors living Native American cultures and traditions. “I was trying to figure out how to get 574 federally recognized tribes to agree on something without naming one particular tribe or name," he explains.   

Native people are still here, still defending this country

Pratt’s solution was a design that drew on the spirituality of Native religions. The memorial includes elements of wind, fire, water, and earth.  The design also incorporates communal traditions which allow visitors to pray and acknowledge the sacrifices of Native American veterans. Pratt hopes that the memorial will educate people on the sacrifices and experiences of Native Americans, but also be a place of significance for all. Pratt believes that the memorial will be a place of “power and comfort.”