Didn't know this one. Would never have guessed this one. But the ethnic group most disproportionately represented in the US military is Native Americans. Native Americans make up barely one percent of the population, but 1.6% of our military forces.
Why even bother with this bit of trivia? Two reasons:
Today - November 28th, 2008 - is Native American Heritage Day. A day set aside by federal legislation to "honor the contributions American Indians have made to the United States."
Contributions like, you know, losing their land so we could have a nation.
If you had zero idea that today was a special day, don't get panicky and self-conscious. The legislation creating the day was only signed last month and only covers 2008.
Insult to injury. An afterthought that's not even an annual afterthought.
Tribal reps, however, are pushing to make the day a regular calendar event. Though, probably not the day after Thanksgiving as Thanksgiving's like a big, flipped middle finger to a lot of Native Americans.
And reason #2 that I bring up the stat about Native Americans serving in the military? It's another opportunity to remind people that, ironically, it seems those most historically disenfranchised by the government often have the least reluctance to step up and serve their country. Blacks. Japanese-Americans. Gays. When it comes to fighting for freedom, those who are willing to fight should not be limited by our bigotry. Only rewarded with our gratitude.
No, you didn't know about Native American Heritage Day - neither did I - and it might not be around next year. But while it's on our minds, and while we're giving thanks for those willing to protect our country, let's take a moment to recall the sacrifices past and present of Native Americans. For more perspective visit That Minority Thing.com