As far back as colonial times, Native individuals and communities have fought alongside European and American soldiers against common enemies. Medicine Bags and Dog Tags is the story of these Native men and women whose military service has defended ancient homelands, perpetuated longstanding warrior traditions, and promoted tribal survival and sovereignty.
Drawing on a rich array of archival records and oral traditions, Al Carroll offers the most complete account of Native veterans to date and is the first to take an international approach, drawing comparisons with Native veteran traditions in Canada and Mexico. He debunks the “natural warrior” stereotype as well as the popular assumption that Natives join the military as a refuge against extreme poverty and as a form of assimilation. The reasons for enlistment, he argues, though varied and complex, are invariably connected to the relative strengths of tribal warrior traditions within communities. Carroll provides a fascinating look at how the culture and training of the American military influenced the makeup and tactics of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s and 1970s and how, in turn, Natives have influenced U.S. military tactics, symbolism, and basic training.
Al Carroll is Mescalero Apache (unenrolled), Mexican, and Irish. He is an adjunct professor of history at St. Phillip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, and his articles have appeared in several contributed volumes.