Skip to Main Content
We are working to upgrade the research experience by making ongoing improvements to our Research Guides.
You may encounter changes in the look and feel of the Research Guides website along with structural changes to our existing guides. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please let us know.

Primary Sources: America in World War II

Native Americans in World War II

Native Americans in World War II

Native Americans made significant contributions to the Allied war effort during World War II despite facing discrimination and marginalization in their own country. Thousands of Native American men and women served in the armed forces, demonstrating bravery, loyalty, and patriotism on the battlefield.

Native American service members served in all military branches, from the Army and Navy to the Marines and Air Force. They played crucial roles as code talkers. They used their native languages, including Navajo, Choctaw, and Comanche, to transmit vital indecipherable messages to enemy codebreakers, contributing to Allied success in critical battles across the Pacific and European theaters.

Additionally, Native American soldiers served as infantrymen, medics, scouts, and in other combat and support roles, distinguishing themselves in combat with acts of heroism and sacrifice. Despite facing discrimination and segregation within the military, Native American service members fought bravely alongside their fellow soldiers, earning respect and recognition for their contributions.

On the homefront, Native American communities also played a role in supporting the war effort. Many tribes organized war bond drives, participated in victory garden initiatives, and contributed to civilian defense efforts, demonstrating their commitment to the war effort and their country.

However, the war also highlighted the ongoing struggles and injustices faced by Native Americans, including forced assimilation policies, land loss, and inadequate access to healthcare and education. Despite these challenges, Native Americans during World War II demonstrated resilience, patriotism, and a deep commitment to defending their homeland and preserving their cultures and traditions. Their contributions to the war effort helped shape history and paved the way for greater recognition and respect for Native American veterans and their communities.

Online Sources: Native Americans during World War II 

Books - Native Americans in World War II