Indigenous Veterans Memorial

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Indigenous Veterans Memorial. Charles “Snow Bear” Smith, Jr. had worked tirelessly for many years to make this happen. Due to his incredible and dedicated work on this project, Snow Bear was presented with an Eagle Feather, a very high honor. He was praised by many leaders of various tribes, including the Narragansett and Mohegan among others. Representatives from Sen. Reed’s office, Sen. Whitehouse, Director Yarn of Veteran’s Affairs, Secretary of State Gregg Amore, State Representative Vella-Wilkinson, and many others were in attendance for this momentous occasion.

After attending the ribbon cutting ceremony, RI Council 94 Treasurer Claire Newell, a fellow Tribal Member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe stated:

“I remember Snow Bear stating that this was his vision many moons ago, at a pow wow we attended, to have a monument at the Veteran’s Cemetery, honoring Indigenous Men & Women that served their Country.

It was a great honor for me to be there and witness not only his vision, but the determination to bring this to fruition. I am honored that he is a fellow tribal member of the Wampanoag Nation and very honored to have him as a fellow member and steward within RI Council 94, AFSCME and proud to call him part of my Union family.”