San Manuel Hosts Native Veteran's Memorial,“The Gift”
Statue by renowned artist A. Thomas Schomberg memorializes American Indian and Alaska Native veterans
San Manuel Indian Nation, Calif (March 10, 2017) – Through April 2, 2017, guests entering San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino will be welcomed by a ¼ scale version of “The Gift.” Representing the United States’ gratitude to the American Indian for over 200 years of military service and sacrifice, The Gift presents a Native soldier draped in a Colonial US flag.
Artist A. Thomas Schomberg, who also created the Rocky Balboa sculptures for Rocky III, is the artistic force behind "The Gift," a profoundly passionate piece of work. Selected by the official American Indian-Alaska Native Veterans' Memorial Committee, the installment will include the 12-foot statue surrounded by 12 soaring, bronze eagles on pedestals.
The full-sized version of “The Gift” will finish its tour on Native lands by being permanently on display in the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA as part of the AIAN Veteran’s Memorial. The monument is the first to recognize the 200-year history of Tribal patriotism and military service in America’s foreign wars.
During World War I, over 14,000 American Indians volunteered for military service, even though they had not been granted citizenship in the country for which they risked their lives. This tremendous show of patriotism prompted the U.S. Congress to grant the returning veterans American citizenship, setting into motion the federal process which would culminate in citizenship for all American Indians in 1924. Currently, one out of every four Indian males serves in the military
The AIAN Veterans Memorial Committee is an organization for volunteers who work with the non-profit Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee. The committee is tasked with the responsibility to raise $3 million needed to complete the memorial.