Medic at D-Day: The Humble Heroism of Charles Norman Shay

For more than 60 years, Charles Shay (Penobscot) couldn’t talk about his horrific experiences on Omaha Beach during the largest seaborne invasion in history. Now he performs a smudging ceremony at the annual D-Day observances in Normandy, France, in honor of the 175 American Indians who landed that day. The French have dedicated a park overlooking the beach, in his, and their, honor.

Naal Tsoos Saní (The Old Paper): The Navajo Treaty of 1868, Nation Building and Self-Determination

Naal Tsoos Saní, the “Old Paper” in the language of the Diné, is the Treaty of 1868 that ended the Navajo peoples’ forced relocation to the Bosque Redondo. Although it is the legal foundation of the modern Navajo Nation, its limits on traditional Diné sovereignty are still intensely debated. The 20-page document, recently displayed in the exhibit Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations at the Museum on the National Mall, is moving to the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz., for the 150th anniversary of its signing.

Fighting the Nazis: A Creek Indian Wins the Congressional Medal of Honor

The first American Indian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor in the 20th century, Lt. Col. Ernest Childers (Muscogee Creek) graduated from Chilocco Indian Agricultural school on the eve of World War II. Like many of his schoolmates, he enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard, soon to be incorporated into the U.S. Army. His single-handed heroism in the bloody Italian Campaign was the start of a distinguished military career.