Tribal college seeks public’s help in verifying names of Native Americans veterans

Joe Jordan

Joann Standing Bear, of Cannon Ball, submitted a photo to United Tribes Technical College of her father, Joe Jordan, back row, left, and other Native American men from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, who served in World War I.

United Tribes Technical College is seeking the public’s help in verifying the names of about 356 Native American men who served in World War I.

These men were enrolled members of North Dakota’s five tribes: Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

More than 12,000 Native Americans served in WWI, according to the National Museum of the American Indian. They served in a variety of roles, including as “code talkers,” who transmitted messages via telephone in their tribal languages and protected from enemy ears.

To coincide with the observance of the centennial year of the U.S. involvement in WWI, UTTC plans to honor these soldiers during the college’s International Powwow on Sept. 10 in Bismarck. UTTC also plans to build a memorial on campus over the next year that will list the names of these Native veterans.

“One hundred years ago, men from our tribes willingly chose to enter the military,” said Leander “Russ” McDonald, president of the college. “They didn’t have to do that; it was prior to the time when all Native people were granted U.S. citizenship. But they stepped up, and we owe it to them to remember.”

The college began assembling a list of the names with the help of local authors Ann and Michael Knudson, who wrote a book documenting the lives of Native American men from North Dakota who served in WWI. UTTC also had help from the state’s tribes.

UTTC is looking for assistance in identifying any name misspellings, preferred name usage, names not on the list and any additional details on their service, as well as photos. For more information, contact UTTC’s office of public information at 701-255-3285.

To view the list, visit www.scribd.com/document/355926376/2017-08-04-WWI-ND-Native-Vets-by-Tribe-updatede.

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