The Impact of War on Native American Veteran and Research Life on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA ・5 Sources

Warfare has never been the best way of resolving conflicts in the world. As a result, when people go to war, the aftermath of the war is almost always negative. There are several casualties: the wounded, the crippled, the severely injured, and the ongoing scramble for the little resources left over from the battle. In this respect, the consequences of World War II did not spare the natives of America (Little 360). The natives had not involved in any serious military warfare before the arrival of the Europeans but only went to war on matters concerning the avenging of the killing of their relatives, to take captives as their slaves, or gain honors as the best-organized community in matters pertaining military skills. There are also those communities that did not seriously go into war with each other but involved in games which did not leave behind casualties (Farley et al. 55). Upon the arrival of the European, the local Indians had to involve into brutal and strong warfare as it was in World War II with effects spilling over after the war ended. The research paper is aimed at examining the effect of combat on Native Americans veteran life and the research life on pine reservation.

The effects of Combat on Native American Veteran Life

According to Little (357-375), the major impact after the war was the conflict experienced between the Indians and the Americans. The locals felt that they had not been paid fully according to the treaties they had signed before converging for war. This was as a result of the civil war taking up many resources and therefore payments had to be readjusted not to correspond as earlier signed in the treaties so as to at least honor their earlier agreement. This led to conflict between the Indians and the Americans, for example the incident that took place at Minnesota and led to 40 Sioux being hanged and the Sand Creek Massacre, which took place after the civil wars. There were also cases of individual unrests that took place as some Indians still did not trust the Americans after the civil war. Besides that, it’s important to note these that conflicts took place because the US government did not have enough resources to either suppress the Indians or make them happy.

American society has the most number of hospitals dealing on cases related to post traumatic stress disorders (PSTDs). These cases are as rampant as most of the locals aged 65 and above are former soldiers, and the local American natives are the most affected than any other races in the region. These ex-soldiers upon retiring started to experience bad feelings and memories about their past, how they killed to survive, saw their friends killed and some badly injured on the battle line. As such, they continue to experience fear and stress yet they are no longer in the battle field. Besides that, the local hospitals have also taken the initiative of using spiritual leaders in order to help these soldiers of war. As the civil wars does not only cause body damage but also spirit and mind damage of the soldiers (Shulevitz 68).

As a result of civil war the American, Indian society puts these former soldiers in prestigious place. They are honored, and seen as heroes and heroines of today. The veterans are always respected and given honor for fighting for their rights and resources, protecting their communities and families, and also the trauma they faced during the war. They are also sought after for guidance and advice on matters that are deemed difficult to deal with since they experienced a lot and have various responses and different way of viewing life issues. There were also cases where these soldiers lost their social life, as some of those who went when married came back, divorced their wives and left their kids to lead a miserable life, and they no longer understand the meaning of a life as they lived with a short gun on their side read to put into their mouth and end it for once (Farley et al. 55)

The European settlement into the region had majorly negative effects onto veteran’s lives. After the war the European settled into the region, leading to displacement of some local tribes, and in some cases they deliberately spread diseases such small pox to the locals. These types of diseases were alien to the locals and it wiped away a good number of locals (Nguyen 265). There was also destruction of property and loss of cultural values of the locals as the Europeans introduced policies that were new to the veterans and their way of life. In this regard it’s imperative to state that the settling of the European into these regions left to devastating conditions that the locals suffered and passed on their generations.

The Research Life on Pine Ridge Reservation

Long life expectance is the dream life of all veterans in all states. Currently, the Americans are living longer than before, their life expectance has shoot up from 68 years in 1968 to 78 years as per 2014 research reports. This marvelous works are to be attributed to the National Institute of Health that has conducted continuous research on improving humans’ life expectance. Despite this national wide life expectance it should not be assumed that all states enjoy the same life expectance, as research has shown that there are wide variations with a difference of 20 years life expectance being witnessed in some counties. For instance, the Native American reservation located at the U.S south of Dakota state has the lowest life expectance. This low life expectance has been attributed to inactivity, lifestyles, and poverty. As such, cases of obesity, alcoholism, immorality, are the norm in this state.

Pine ridge reservation center for natives is both the largest and poorest reservation center in the United States. Among the 3142 counties of United States only a small chuck (340km2)of land from these states is viable agriculturally the remaining lies fallow as it’s unproductive. (Shulevitz 112) The reservation encompasses this unproductive land. With this level of unproductivity from lands and no formal form of income to the locals, the poverty levels in this county are very high. Research has also shown that despite the national smoking ratios being relatively low, Oglala Lakota County has the highest numbers of smokes. As such, the cases of obesity impacts almost half of the populations, premature births also are on rampant, and cases of sexually transmitted diseases being reported. Therefore, pine ridge reservation is inhabited by poverty stricken families, low overall health outcome in the state and hence low life expectance as compared to other counties.

The pine ridge reservation also bears the historical events between the locals, Sioux and the United States (Little 370). The Wounded Knee Massacre that took place on 20th December, 1890 is ahistorical event that the locals will never forget as the government tried to wash away their local movement. Besides that, it’s also the place where Chief Spotted Eik led the mixed band of Miniconjuo Lakota and Hunkpapa Sioux into hiding as they fled from the Standing Rock Agency. At this event, their colleagues and family members, women and some warriors had been killed and their property destroyed when they were ambushed by heavily armed military from Seventh Calvary.

The reservation has an eighteen member tribal leadership. These leaders are from Oglala Sioux Tribe Council who is elected officials rather than traditional life leaders. The council consists of the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary (Slusser 67). The elections are contacted on October that’s for primary elections while general elections are contacted on December after every two years. Over time, the locals from reserves have gained interest in national politics and thus moved into neighboring counties that follow the rules of the United States. For example in 2002, Oglala Lacota candidates won various public posts in Bennett County. This was largely attributed to the fact that most the Oglala tribesmen had migrated gradually since 1990s.

Law enforcement in the pine reservation is done by the members of the warriors such as the crows’ owner, the kit foxes and the badgers known as the akicitas. They maintained law and order in the homesteads and during communal buffalo hunt. However these practices did not last long after they were forced into reservation range and then Indian police force was introduced to maintain law and order (Shulevitz 26).


American natives just like any other people from the continent who participated in the World War II or any other civil war, suffered severe consequences. They were displaced, killed in the battle and by the disease and some still languish in the states of poverty in reserves. Besides that, it should not assume that all natives of United States from various corners enjoy the best facilities available in the country, have high life expectancy and the best medical facilities.

Works Cited

Farley, Melissa, et al "The prostitution and trafficking of American Indian/Alaska Native women in Minnesota." American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research (Online) 23.1 (2016): 65.

Little, John A. "Between Cultures: Sioux Warriors and the Vietnam War." Great Plains Quarterly 35.4 (2015): 357-375.

Nguyen, Gia-Quan Thi Anna. "We Became the Cavalry: The Transformation of Native American Warrior Identity During the Vietnam War." (2014).

Slusser, Michelle M. Native spirituality: A path towards holistic healing for Native American veterans. Diss. Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2015.

Shulevitz, Judith. "The Science of Suffering." New Republic (2014).

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