Native Americans in the Military: From Service to Civilian Life

Cover of Native America Veterans Report
Throughout American history, Native veterans have answered the call to serve in the Armed Services. Highly regarded within their tribal community for their dedication and commitment to serve in the Armed Services, Native American veterans represent 574 federally recognized tribes. We take this opportunity to honor all Native Americans and acknowledge their ongoing contributions to the success and growth of our nation. service members and veterans. The information and statistics in this document are from various data collection efforts centered on military life, transition, employment, entrepreneurship, and higher education. 

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A Few Key Takeaways

Populations

0
Currently over 20,000+ American Indian or Alaska Native Active Duty and Selected Reserve Members
0
Currently over 140,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans in the U.S.

Highlights

  • 25% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans live outside of metropolitan areas
  • 63% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans live in the West South Central, Mountain, and Pacific Regions
  • 18% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans live below poverty threshold
  • 40% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans are enrolled for VA health care
  • 134,718 VA home loans in 2020 for American Indian or Alaska Native veterans

Top Motivations For Military Service

A desire to serve your country 57%
Education benefits 50%
New experiences/adventure/travel 50%

Top Motivations For Military Service

Leadership and management skills 88%
Work ethic/discipline 85%
Teamwork 83%

84% reported that joining the military was a GOOD decision.

Transition

Post Service Career

51% indicated the desire to pursue a career DIFFERENT from their military specialty (MOS, AFSC, etc.)

TOP TRANSITION CHALLENGES

Navigating VA administration or benefits 62%
Getting a job 55%
Getting socialized to civilian culture 45%
Depression 45%
Disability 44%

Disabilities

29% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans have a service-connected disability

Unemployment

IN 2019, American Indian or Alaska Native veteran unemployment was at 8.04%
{this was HIGHER compared to other veteran counterparts but LOWER compared to American Indian or Alaska Native nonveteran counterparts}

Earnings

In 2019, $50,000 median earnings for American Indian or Alaska Native veterans
{HIGHER compared to American Indian or Alaska Native nonveteran counterparts who earn about $31,000; LOWER compared to non-minority veteran counterparts who earn about $61,000}

Entreprenuership

  • In 2019, 10% of American Indian or Alaska Native veterans were self-employed
  • 60% of American Indian or Alaska Native veteran entrepreneurs indicated that navigating the resources in their local community was not easy in 2020

Higher Education

82% of American Indian or Alaska Native veteran indicated that they could not afford school without the GI Bill

Bachelor's Degree or Higher

0%

Some College of Associate Degree

0%

High School Degree

0%

Less Than High School Degree

0%

How Can Higher Education Help?

“Have a support staff that works with not only mainstream veterans but diverse veterans such as Native American veterans” – Army Post 9/11 Veteran

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