Bill honors Native American veterans
ByTim Leeds/Havre Daily News/[email protected]
The state Senate Saturday passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Rocky Boy, to honor Native American veterans from Montana.
It requires that a monument will be erected within a circle of tribal flags on the grounds of the Capitol.
Under an amendment added by the governor, work on the monument will be contingent on the state treasurer confirming that enough private money has been collected to fund the project.
Windy Boy said that while he is not a veteran, many Montana Native Americans have served with distinction.
About 30 residents of Rocky Boy have served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The history of Native Americans serving in or helping the U.S. military goes back to the War of 1812, Windy Boy's bill says.
A famous Montana example mentioned in the bill is Louis Charles Charlo, a private in the U.S. Marine Corps and great-grandson of Salish Chief Charlo. Pvt. Charlo was immortalized in a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery as one of the Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima.
Windy Boy said he supports the governor's amendment. He doesn't want any cost to the state to stop the monument from becoming a reality, he said.
Windy Boy said he will hold a public gathering, including Montana tribal leaders and representatives of tribal veterans organizations, and announce that donations for the monument will be accepted.
Others have volunteered to help with the fund-raising, he said, including Bob Swan of Rocky Boy. Swan's company, RJS and Associates, will help with grant writing, Windy Boy said.