The American Indian Warriors Association is composed of Military service veterans with Honorable discharge. Many are combat veterans of many conflicts and most are Tribal members. San Diego County is home to over 280,000 of America's most distinguished veterans. In the 21st century the United States military can be expected to provide continuing avenues of opportunity for Native American Indian Men and Women to carry on the Intertribal Warrior tradition of serving with pride, courage and distinction.

The goals of the American Indian Warrior Association (AIWA) are:

  1. To help the circumstances of the American Indian veteran and family.
  2. To promote a whole healthy American Indian veteran community.
  3. To participate in cultural events that reflects the traditions of American Indian heritage and respectfully of Indian Warriors

Native Americans have one of the highest records of service per capita, of any ethnic group.

A majority of these men and women enlisted, and a disproportional number served in combat positions: Navy, air, surface, submarine, seal team, Marine Corps Recon and amphibious infantry, Army tank battalions, airborne-ranger units, and artillery batteries, Air Force, Coast Guard. At first glance, these statistics might seem surprising. After all, historically, the U.S. military took Native land by force and wiped out generations of Indian warriors. Paradoxically, however, the recruitment of Native Americans had been as much a federal policy as Indian removal. Indians Warriors were recruited by George Washington to fight with American forces against the British. Native American served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and in the Civil War tribal warriors were recruited by both sides.

A much more powerful and persistent reason for the record of military service is that, in fact, many Indian Warrior veterans think of their modern warfare experience in terms of much older traditions. For many tribes, combat was equally a physical and spiritual experience. Warriors were ritually prepared for, and ceremonially returned from the battlefield. Young warriors desired to have their strength, courage, and honor tested in combat.

The American flag has always been an important patriotic symbol of the United States. For Native Americans, however, the flag has had a number of meanings. During the 1860s when warfare between Plains Indians and the U.S. Army escalated, Plains men captured American flags from the army and made decorative use of flag imagery to demonstrate their success as warriors. Other Native Americans joined the Army and wore images of the flag as a symbol of their military service. Members of their family, mothers, sisters, and children have also used flag imagery to show respect for and pride in their military relative. After 1870-1895, Plains people used the flag as a form of limited protection, flying it to prevent attack or interference when they held ceremonial events. Around the same time Native American women also began to incorporate the image of the flag on everyday objects such as baskets, pincushions, and rugs made for sale to tourists.

Please use these links to become informed about the issues and services that directly affect the veteran community. AIWA encourages all to get involved and advocate on behalf of Native American Indian veterans and their needs.

Government Links:
House Veterans' Affairs Committee:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
California Department of Veteran Affairs:
County of San Diego Veteran Service Office:
National World War II Memorial:

Medical Links:
VA Medical Center La Jolla:
Naval Medical Center of San Diego:

Selected Veterans Service Organizations:
Veterans Memorial Center of San Diego:
The Distinguished Flying Cross Society:
Veterans of Foreign Wars:
Disabled American Veterans:
American Legion:
Vietnam Veterans of America:
Military Order of the Purple Heart:
Paralyzed Veterans of America:

The AIWA Color Guard is honored when asked to be the event Honor Guard and gratefully acknowledges and appreciates all requests and invitations to participate in traditional Tribal and Veteran activities. Please contact our AIWA Event Coordinator: Joaquin Sandoval Phone: 858-334-9822. Thank you.