Créer un site internet
Native American Veteran and Canadian aboriginal veteran List.


Uscw title drawing

942 Engaged

10 deaths in service


For many US Army officers, Native American enlistment was a stepping stone to their assimilation. One of the officers who believed it most was John J Pershing, stationed at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in the 1890s. For him, Indian soldiers learned English very well, were an example to other Indians, very patriotic. and especially excellent soldiers. He advised several times to form one or two permanent Indian regiments, in the same way as those of the blacks, but with Indian officers.


He continued his support to fully Native American units during the First World War.

Conversely, many religious and humanitarian groups refused such enrollment. For them, the Indians had to become farmers and not remain warriors because of their savagery in combat. Finally, when the proposals fell, many nations agreed to enlist their young men as scouts or auxiliaries of the army. For the Indians, the army was a simple way to perpetuate their warrior spirit.

From the 1890s, the military wanted to experience Amerindian engagement, not as a short-term scout, but as a committed soldier for five years. A directive of 1891 authorizes the creation of the troop L in the cavalry and the company I in the infantry. The whites of these companies were transferred to other companies to replace them with Indians. The directive provided for the enlistment of at least 1,000 Indians. The program enjoyed great success at these beginnings, Indian recruits excel in all military facets. A unit of former Apache prisoners was even honored during parades of his battalion.


But the population was against this idea, how would people react if a troop of Indians ensured their safety in the city? How would these units react if they were to fight other Indians?


One journalist went so far as to make a comparison with the barbarians of ancient times, saying that the united states would collapse by hiring Indians, as the Roman and Greek empires collapsed with their barbaric mercenaries.





Nevertheless, experience with all Indian units had positive results if integration into white society was the desired result. Legislation passed in 1894 prohibits foreigners who could not speak, read or write English enlistment in the US military. The law, a reflection of the nativism of the time, was provoked by an increase in the enlistments of the immigrant population after the economic depression of 1893. Although most Indians were not US citizens, they were exempt from the law. because the army had conducted a social experiment, in which the result was to teach English to Indian recruits. Ironically, the failure of the experience with Indian units meant that Indian soldiers would be individually integrated into the military, a level playing field that escaped Black soldiers until World War II. After the experiment was over, most Indian soldiers returned to civilian status, although at least 154 of them remained on the military lists as Scouts. 6 others are also identified having served in other units of the American militia during their enlistment during the First World War.

10 deaths were recorded during this experiment, most having succumbed to diseases.