Yurok Tribe Honors Veteran’s Today
Press release from the Yurok Tribe:
The Yurok Country Visitor Center and the Yurok Tribe are putting on a Veteran’s Day event to honor the families of those who lost their lives, while serving in the United States armed forces.
“We will be honoring the families of our Fallen Heroes and World War II veterans,” said James Gensaw, the Cultural Coordinator for the Visitor Center and Yurok Tribal member. “Please come and show your support and help us honor our Yurok Veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of all service members.”
The Wednesday event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the new Yurok Country Visitor Center, which is located on Klamath Blvd. in downtown Klamath. As a sign of appreciation for their sacrifice, the families of those who died in combat will receive a special gift from the Yurok Country Visitor Center.
The gathering will also feature a book signing by Yurok Tribal member Chag Lowry, author of The Original Patriots. The publication contains 60 interviews with Tribal World War II veterans, as well as a summary of Native American participation in World War I and information about the boarding school system that many veterans went to as children. Lowry will be accompanied by three local WWII Native American Veterans, whose stories were captured in the 270-page book.
Hundreds of local Tribal people served in both World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, Korean War and in the current conflicts in the Middle East. Per capita, more Native Americans serve in the military than any other ethnic group, according to statistics compiled by the US Department of Defense.
During World Wars I and II, approximately 90 percent of the men on the Yurok Reservation left their families to serve all over the world from Italy to Iwo Jima. There are also records of Yurok women, such as Aawok Dee Rouse, who participated in the war effort. Despite the tremendous hardships Yuroks and other Native Americans faced during that time period, many sacrificed everything to protect their homeland. At least seven were killed in action, according to research Lowry conducted for his book.
On September 21, 1942 the war came very close to Yurok Country when a Japanese submarine successfully landed incendiary bombs just 40 miles north of the Yurok Reservation. In the beginning of 1943, the United States set up an early-warning radar station on the Yurok Reservation to thwart such attacks. Many tribal members provided support services to the Army Air Corps, which operated the station. The military installation is now non-operational.
Yurok people, historically and today, feel a deep connection and appreciation for this place and will do anything necessary to protect it. That is why so many served and continue to serve in the armed forces. To learn more about the Yurok Tribe, please check out the Yurok Country Visitor Center or visit us online at visityurokcountry.com.
James Gensaw is gathering information on Yurok veterans. Please contact him at (707) 482-1555 if you have a vet in your family.