Native Americans have made and continue making enormous contributions to our society and defending it. American Legion Media and Communications Director Jeff Stoffer joined AWF Union Podcast to talk about Harvey Pratt, his career and his current work.
The story of Harvey Pratt
Stoffer introduced Pratt by speaking to his childhood and being raised in the Cheyanne tribe in Oklahoma. He said Pratt’s grandfather would give him clay in order to make his own toys, indirectly turning him into a great sculptor and artist.
After continuing to practice art, Pratt went on to college to study art. He later dropped out of college, found his place in the Marine Corps and was deployed to Vietnam early in the conflict.
After returning to the United States, Pratt became a detective in a local police force. Here he discovered a way to use his talent in art as a way to become a forensic artist. He later became one of the pioneers in forensic sculpting, a calling to his childhood. In this role he was able to recreate faces and help solve various murders.
National Native American Veterans Memorial
Recently Pratt submitted a design for the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. The design was ultimately selected and Pratt’s design will be dedicated on Veterans Day at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.
With the massive amount of tribes in the country, Stoffer said Pratt had to be very creative as a way to connect all of the tribes despite cultural differences and past conflicts.
Stoffer said he always gets questions about why natives would fight wars for the United States because of how they were treated in the past. Stoffer said Pratt told him it is because of the warrior culture Pratt grew up in and his knowledge of survival.