The National Gathering of American Indian Veterans is a yearly event held in the summer at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. This three day weekend event honors veterans and military personnel of all cultures, eras, and branches in a Native American style. Guests can come to participate in special panels lead by veterans and veterans service providers on topics ranging from traditional health and wellness, working with the VA, jobs and economic development for veterans after service, and more. Each year features unique performances and entertainment, as well as cultural vendors and artists. This event is free and open to the public, and to anyone who would like to join us in honoring all those in the United States military.
The first of the now annual National Gathering event was held in August of 2015 at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL. Native Veterans of Illinois, a group of multi-tribal veterans, saw a need and decided to plan a gathering comprised of reservation and urban Indian veterans to share their stories, needs, views on healing and spirituality, wounded warriors and outreach, participate in discussions on cultural wellness, and other issues relevant to American Indian veterans. Joe Podlasek, the son of a Korean war veteran and CEO of the Trickster Art Gallery, was asked to spearhead this effort on behalf of our veterans. This was done with the strong support of the McCormick Foundation, as well as the original people of these lands and the first tribe to support this unique event, the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomie. With that, the National Gathering was born.
Native people historically have the highest percentage per capita of serving in the US military: at an estimated that 22%, a higher percentage than any other race of people in the US. Despite this, less than .01 % of funds supports Native Veterans nationally. The National Gathering gives veterans a chance to connect with Native veterans from around the country, policy makers, military officials and service providers to express their needs directly, as well as to network, connect with, and create lasting friendships with other veterans, both Native and non-Native.
For more info on how you can help or be a part of this event. Click on this link http://www.trickstergallery.com/history-of-the-national-gathering/