North American Indians in the Great War


North American Indians in the Great War

Susan Applegate Krouse
Photographs and original documentation by Joseph K. Dixon

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

272 pages
19 photographs, table, index


July 2009


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eBook (PDF)
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December 2007


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About the Book

More than twelve thousand American Indians served in the United States military in World War I, even though many were not U.S. citizens and did not enjoy the benefits of enfranchisement. Using the words of the veterans themselves, as collected by Joseph K. Dixon (1856–1926), North American Indians in the Great War presents the experiences of American Indian veterans during World War I and after their return home.
Dixon, a photographer, author, and Indian rights advocate, had hoped that documenting American Indian service in the military would aid the Indian struggle to obtain general U.S. citizenship. Dixon managed to document nearly a quarter of the Indians who had served but was unable to complete his work, and his records languished unexamined until now. Unlike other sources of information on Indian military service collected by government officials, Dixon’s records come primarily from the veterans themselves. Their comments reveal pride in upholding an Indian tradition of military service as well as frustration with the U.S. government. Particularly in its immediacy and individuality, Dixon’s documentation of American Indian veterans of World War I adds greatly to our understanding of the experiences of American Indians in the U.S. military.

Author Bio

Susan Applegate Krouse (1955–2010) was an associate professor of anthropology and the director of the American Indian studies program at Michigan State University. She is the coeditor of Keeping the Campfires Going: Native Women’s Activism in Urban Communities (Nebraska 2009).


“Inspired by the tireless work of Joseph K. Dixon, long an advocate for Native American rights, anthropologist Susan Krouse has compiled numerous firsthand accounts of Native Americans who served in World War I. . . . Krouse has done an admirable job of taking his monumental work and writing a wonderful account of Indian warriors in the Great War.”—Military Heritage

"A fascinating, candid, and intimate view of Indian involvement in World War I. North American Indians in the Great War is a fine and much-needed addition to the growing body of literature on American Indian history."—Joel R. Hyer, South Dakota History

"More discussion and interpretation of American Indian participation in World War I and its impact on pan-Indianism and assimilation waits to be undertaken. Krouse has provided historians, anthropologists, and American Indian communities with additional primary source material to further that effort."—Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Susan Applegate Krouse gives voice to American Indian soldiers who served in the Great War." —Nancy Gentile Ford, Journal of American Ethnic History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Serving for Duty and Justice
2. Battlefield Experiences around the World
3. On the Front Lines as Scouts and Runners
4. Killed in Action and Other Casualties of War
5. Noncombat Service
6. Proud to Be a Warrior
7. The Discouraging Return Home
8. Soldiers but Not Citizens
Appendix: Documenting American Indian Service in World War I

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