Squaxin Island Veterans

Squaxin Island Veterans, We Thank You!!!

Addison, Moody
Aldrich, Jake
Bagley, John
Baller, Christopher
Bloomfield, Charles
Briggs, John Clayton
Brown Garcia, Alex
Brown, Dan Charles, Sr.
Brown, Dan L.
Brown, Edward B.
Brown, Henry P.
Brown Pfundheller, Jan
Brown, Joe
Brown, John Mac
Brownfield, Donald R.
Brownfield, Gary L.

Campbell, Marvin E.
Capoeman, Donald L.
Capoeman, Felix E.
Capoeman, Vernon
Cheeka, Cecil P.
Cheeka, Ernest R, Jr.
Clapanhoo, Edward
Cooper, Francis
Cooper, Rusty

Dailey, Ronald

Elam, Sallee
Ellerbe, Elroy
Fletcher, Harry
Fletcher, Wesley
Frank, Billy, Jr.

Giles, James
Greenwood, Dustin

Henry, Christopher
Henry, Edward
Hoosier, Jeffery

James, Arthur Douglas
James, Robert
Johns, Delwin
Johns, Lloyd
Johns, Richard
Johnson, Bruce
Johnson, Robert
Jones, Robert
Jones, Sean

Kenyon, Kimble
Krise, Darrell
Krise, Delbert
Krise, Frank
Krise, Harvey, Jr.
Krise, Harvey Sr
Krise, James
Krise, John
Krise, John, Sr.
Kruger, Pete, Sr.

Lewis, Riley
Lewis, Toby
Lister, James

Martin, Arthur, Sr.
Martin, Dennis
Martin, Phillip
Mason, Joshua
McCloud, Andrew
McCloud, Donald

Napolean, Francis, Jr.
Napolean, Louis
Newell, Marvin, Jr.

Parker, Glen
Parker, Levi
Parker, Vernon
Penn, Willian
Peters, Calvin
Peters, Raymond
Peters, Rick
Peters, Steve Ray
Peters, Steve Michael
Peters, William Bagley
Peters, William Ray
Pleines, Rusty

Reynolds, Donald (Dawson Mowitch)

Saeger, Mishell
Sequak, Martin
Seymour, David
Seymour, Jonella
Seymour, Joseph H., Jr.
Seymour, Joseph H., Sr.
Sigo, Dennis
Sigo, Dewey
Sigo, Steve, Jr.
Snipper, Brent
Stephens, Gail Marie

Witcraft, Steve
Whitener, David, Sr.
Whitener, Donald E
Whitener, Donald K
Whitener, John Brady
Whitener, Joseph
Whitener, Robert
Whitener, Ronald
Whitener, Wilson


Commemorating Squaxin Island veterans – as with all Native American veterans – is important, given the significant contributions they have made.

In the 20th century, Native Americans served in the U.S. military at a higher per capita rate than any other ethnic group and their service stretches back to the Revolutionary War.

Roughly ten percent of living Native Americans are veterans, three times that of the United States general population! Approximately 22,000 Native Americans currently serve in the Department of Defense, which is proportionately more
than any other ethnic group.

Native American veterans also have a long history of leadership in their communities. Following their return home, they tend to become politically active, battling injustices they and their people face. Native American World War II and Korean War veterans were instrumental in reversing the U.S. government’s policy of “Indian termination” and promoting tribal self-determination. “The most visible legacy of Vietnam in Indian America,” one historian remarked, “was the emergence of an activist generation.” Many leaders of the American Indian Movement were veterans, as were many of those at the forefront of the Puget Sound “Fish Wars” in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Billy Frank Jr.

In the distant past, prior to the political unification of the peoples of the seven inlets of southern Puget Sound into the Squaxin Island Tribe, warriors assumed a dangerous but vital role in their communities. They were held in high honor as the ones who defended against outside invaders who threatened their people. Villages were chosen with defense from raiders in mind. Though violence from those beyond the village was an ever-present threat, archaeological evidence of fortified sites throughout the Coast Salish region suggests conflict intensified about 1,000 years ago. Raids launched by Indigenous peoples living on the northern coast of present-day British Columbia, such as the Haida, against Coast Salish communities became endemic in the late 1700s to the mid-1800s as European and American newcomers introduced firearms, diseases, and trade wars.

While it appears that the ancestors of the Squaxin Island Tribe more often defended themselves than launched raids of their own, they did go on the offense. Prior to any attack, warriors would prepare physically and spiritually, often seeking out spirit helpers.

Such preparations occurred in the early nineteenth century – possibly in the 1830s or 1840s – when an alliance of at least forty Coast Salish groups, including the Sahehwamish, Squaxin, and Stehchass, and more than 1,000 warriors, travelled to Maple Bay (Vancouver Island) to retaliate against Kwakwaka’wakw Lekwiltok raiders, who had been unrelenting in their excursions against Coast Salish villages in search of goods and slaves. The alliance won what has since been referred to as the Battle of Maple Bay, which occurred both in the water – involving hundreds of canoes – and on land, and lasted anywhere from one to five days according to various oral histories.

Native Americans, including those of the Squaxin Island Tribe, served as allies with the United States, and within the U.S. military, long before they became US citizens. In the late 1840s, while the American presence on Puget Sound was in its infancy, Native Americans at the head of Puget Sound refused to participate in a plot by Snoqualmie Chief Patkanim to rid the territory of the Americans. Instead, as noted nineteenth century historian Hubert Howe Bancroft observed, their promises of support and friendship towards the settlers prevented a large-scale war. Shortly thereafter, when war between the Americans and the Natives in Washington Territory did break out in 1855, a company of Squaxin scouts fought for the United States even as the Americans failed to live up to treaty promises and interned Native Americans within camps around Puget Sound, including one on Squaxin Island.

Native Americans have also enlisted in every major war of which the United States has been a part in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. An estimated 10,000-12,000 enlisted in World War I; although this was the greatest number of enlisted peoples from any non-Anglo culture, citizenship (including the right to vote) for Native Americans was not granted until 1924. During World War II approximately 44,000 Native Americans enlisted; roughly 10,000 did so during the Korean War, and more than 42,000 signed up during the Vietnam War. In all these wars, Native American soldiers were more likely to be assigned combat duty, sent to the front line, and given risky assignments such as scouting or walking point. Tens of thousands of Native Americans have served in the armed forces at bases throughout the United States and around the world, as well as in combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite providing more military members per capita than any other ethnic group, Native Americans utilize veteran benefits less than any other group.

If Native Americans have consistently given more to, and received less from, the American government, why did they enlist, and continue to do so, at such high rates? Veterans themselves, including those whose voices follow in this book, have provided many reasons. Patriotism – the love of one’s country despite its problems – is regularly stated, as is feeling the need to contribute to a morally just war, especially in the case of World War II. Some veterans saw military service as a way out of poverty, an opportunity to experience other parts of the world and gain new skills, or, in an atmosphere of oppressive US governments and bureaucrats, as a means of empowerment and liberation. Most often, however, veterans justified their participation in terms of their families, communities, and cultures; they speak of pride in carrying on the traditions of those who came before.

Upon returning home, Native American veterans had mixed experiences. Many were met with celebrations, which included potlatches in the Pacific Northwest, by their families and communities. They were idealized as warriors, their service to the community and country recognized. Negative experiences, such as disillusionment and post-traumatic stress disorder, also accompanied the readjustment to civilian life. In these instances, many American Indians benefited from participating in traditional ceremonies and rituals, whether designed to honor or to heal (or both), and to confirm their valued status within the society. Such ceremonies and actions are not new to the modern era but based upon lengthy traditions of tribal ceremonies developed to aid  individuals and societies in making the transition from war to peace.

Today, as in the past, men and women Native American warriors are the protectors and preservers of the people and land with an important and ongoing role in the life of the tribe. Their presence within the community as tribal heroes is priceless.

Squaxin veterans are fiercely proud of their service. The Squaxin community is equally proud of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers who have served and continue to serve in today’s conflicts and to keep the peace at home. We believe that now is the time to recognize and pay honor to their service and personal sacrifice.