World War II
Warriors and Heroes - Native Americans in World War II

Warriors and Heroes - Native Americans in World War II
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.1

     challenging words:    ill-used, Pro-Nazi, trackers, capita, unyielding, posing, tactics, commando, talkers, battered, tribal, valor, tactic, atomic, uranium, enlistment
     content words:    Native American, Native Americans, General George Washington, Indian Scouts, Indian Cavalry Troop, World War I., Iroquois Confederacy, New York, Signal Corps, President Roosevelt

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Warriors and Heroes - Native Americans in World War II
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Great warriors throng history's halls of honor. Among them, the Native American warrior stands tall. Native fighters were known for their courage. They were driven by a fierce, unyielding pride. Each was intensely loyal to his tribe. They lived for the battle, building up strength and stamina. Many were deeply spiritual. They sought wisdom for the battle and for life.
2     The native warriors walked a tragic path. For over a century, culture raged against culture in America. The conflict took a staggering toll. In the area that became the U.S., native people once numbered around a million. By the 1880s, only about 250,000 were left. Tribal groups became small, battered islands in the sea of American society.
3     There is another story of native fighters that is not so well-known. Native Americans also fought for the U.S. In most of the nation's wars, native groups formed a part of U.S. forces. General George Washington spoke of the value of native soldiers as scouts. They could read the land. Many were expert trackers. Later, the U.S. Army created an Indian Scouts corps. An Indian Cavalry Troop was also established.
4     Native soldiers were known as superior fighters. They excelled in marksmanship and endurance. Many were natural commando fighters. (After all, their people had created the tactic of daring raids!) It was in the 20th century, however, that Native Americans had their biggest impact on the U.S. military.
5     In 1917, the U.S. entered World War I. Most tribes sent soldiers to the conflict. The Iroquois Confederacy, a group of tribes centered in New York, declared war on Germany. In all, over 12,000 people of many different tribes joined the U.S. military. Some served as regular troops. Some, especially the Choctaw, served in the Signal Corps. They were called "code talkers." They transmitted vital messages on the battlefield. They had a ready-made code - their native language. German experts never broke these codes.

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