March 23, 2023

General Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the South Pacific, on an inspection trip of American battle fronts, late 1943. From left: Staff Sergeant Virgil Brown (Pima), First Sergeant Virgil F. Howell (Pawnee), Staff Sergeant Alvin J. Vilcan (Chitimacha), General MacArthur, Sergeant Byron L. Tsingine (Diné [Navajo]), Sergeant Larry Dekin (Diné [Navajo]). U.S. Army Signal Corps.
St. Paul, Minn. (May 7, 2017) – “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” tells the remarkable history of the brave American Indian and Alaska Native men and women who have served in the United States military. Native peoples have participated in every major U.S. military encounter from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in the Middle East, serving at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other ethnic group.

This exhibit is presented in 18 full-color banners, including additional content developed by MNHS about the efforts of American Indian veterans from Minnesota and the surrounding area. It will be on display Saturday, May 27 to Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, inside the historic fort and is included with regular site admission. Admission for Native American guests is waived.

The exhibit is available during regular open hours. The fort opens for the summer season on Memorial Day Weekend with a number of programs, including tours, family activities and an exploration of different eras of U.S. military history as presented through costumed history players. In addition, visitors can take in a special photo exhibit in the visitor center, “‘Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit’ Japanese American WWII Incarceration, Then & Now,” to learn about the legacy of Japanese Americans who persevered over their incarceration during World War II.

“Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” is produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Historic Fort Snelling is located near the MSP airport at the intersection of Hwys. 5 and 55 overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Originally an 1820s Army outpost to protect U.S. interests in the fur trade, the fort and surrounding buildings were later used for military training from the Civil War through World War II. Human history in the area dates back at least 10,000 years. Historic Fort Snelling is Minnesota’s first National Historic Landmark and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.  Visit us at

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

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