Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 10:48 pm | Fair 63º


Chumash Hosts Veterans Memorial Monument

'The Gift' pays tribute to American Indians and Alaskan Natives who served their country

Bronze statue by sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg is 12 feet tall.
Bronze statue by sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg is 12 feet tall. (Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians)

A replica of The Gift, a monument to honor the sacrifices and patriotism of American Indian and Alaskan Native veterans, is on display through May 30 at the Chumash Casino Resort, on the tribe’s reservation on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez.

The monument will be the first national memorial in a national veterans’ cemetery to honor 200 years of patriotism by America’s original inhabitants. It will be the centerpiece in an extensive memorial site at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside.

A 12-foot bronze sculpture, The Gift, by sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg has been selected by the official American Indian Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Committee.

“We are pleased to host The Gift as they make their way through California on a state-wide tour,” said Kenneth Kahn, tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

“As a tribe, it is important for us to honor our veterans and recognize them for their service to our country,” Kahn said.

The AIAN Veterans Committee hopes the tour will also help the nonprofit raise the $3 million needed to complete construction of the entire installation on the sacred grounds of the Riverside National Cemetery.

“We want America to know that we too have a memorial that shows not just our pride — there is plenty of that — but a visible testimony where our people can mourn,” said Vietnam Veteran Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians.

“Where others will actually see and feel the sacrifices Indian people have made and continue to make for love of this country,” said Mazzetti, who also is honorary chairman of the AIAN Veterans Committee.

— Veronica V. Sandoval for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.


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