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Plaque to honor American Indian veterans at Minnesota Capitol

ST. PAUL -- American Indian veterans will be honored Thursday with a memorial plaque placed on the Minnesota Capitol grounds.

The plaque will be dedicated to all American Indian veterans who have served in peacetime and in war.

American Indians have historically served in the U.S. armed forces at rates proportionately higher than any other group of Americans.

White Earth Nation Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council have been working since 2005 to secure a memorial for American Indian veterans, who have served in wars as early as the American Revolution.

During the 2013 legislative session, Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, sponsored a bill that authorized the placement of a plaque in the Court of Honor. Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, sponsored the bill in the Senate, and it was signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last April.

Speakers at the ceremony, which will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Capitol Court of Honor, are: Vizenor, Dayton, Chairman Kevin Leecy (Bois Forte), Vice President Lucy Taylor (Prairie Island Indian Community) and state Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito.

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