Friday, October 02, 2009
Source: Swil Kanim (Lummi) in A-Y-P: Indigenous Voices Reply, a film by Anna Laura Hoover (Aleut) and part of a larger exhibit by the same name.
A few days before viewing the film I asked a friend, who is also an enrolled member of the Flathead tribe, why he thought so many Indians served in the US military his response was "Survival."
In discussing the matter with another friend, I observed that high rates of military service in the conquering armies are an apparent characteristic of many conquered peoples such as White Southerners and Filipinos in the US military and the Gurkha and Scottish regiments in the British Army. The French Foreign Legion has also attracted large numbers of soldiers from French colonies. Going back further, many Roman Legions were also populated by non-Romans. Serving in a conquering army is a way of demonstrating (and being rewarded for) military prowess, valor, and loyalty to the dominant society and, yes, it can also be a survival tactic.
See also: "Skins & Fighting for Uncle Scum"