Captain Ben Davis Locke (Choctaw), in front, with American Indian soldiers at Camp Stanley, 1918. Photo courtesy of Francine Locke Bray.
Published January 9, 2019
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s website. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In commemoration of the centennial of the World War I, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Sequoyah National Research Center has published the website “American Indians in World War I” in partnership with the United States World War I Centennial Commission. The website – ww1cc.org/americanindian – commemorates the service of 12,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives who served in the war, mostly as volunteers.
The website content was written by Sequoyah National Research CenterDirector Daniel Littlefield and Archivist Erin Fehr, while a special essay on Code Talkers was contributed by Missouri State University Professor William C. Meadows, who is in the process of publishing a book on WWI code talkers.
“Creating the website for the World War I Centennial Commission has been one of my favorite projects to work on,” Fehr said. “The service of American Indian soldiers is often unknown or overlooked, so this website will be an invaluable resource in remembering their legacy of bravery and sacrifice.”
The website features articles on all aspects of a soldier’s service and includes a timeline of American Indian history. American Indian women who served as nurses are highlighted in a separate section that includes biographies of each woman. A map of Native American war memorials is also included.
The website will be a great genealogical tool for people wanting to learn more about their ancestors war records.
“There are very few resources available on this topic, so I think it will get lots of interest,” Fehr said.
“Modern Warriors of World War I” was created in 2017 to identify all 12,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives who served in the war. The searchable database is included on the website with nearly 3,500 men to date. Frequent updates are expected. Many contributors have added to this database, including Véronique Lozano of the Facebook page World War I Native American Warriors, who contributed in honor of Muscogee (Creek) Sam Proctor in memory of his uncle, Pvt. Sam Beaver.
Information is still being sought on any and all Native soldiers of World War I.
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013 to commemorate the centennial of World War I through the development of educational programs, organization of activities, establishment of the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., and as a clearinghouse for WWI information.
The Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is the largest archival collection of American Indian and Alaska Native expression in the world. The Center fosters research for the study of Native Americans by providing access to unique resources by and about Native peoples.
For more information about ths website, contact Erin Fehr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-569-8336.