Replay story

"Finding my place here"


Narrated by Tristan Ahtone

Aug.2009–Aug.2010, Feb.2012–Aug.2012

New Mexico, U.S.

‘At one point, I slept with my rifle because I don’t know what roams around at night around here. So it kind of puts me on edge sometimes ... I mean, I did that for a while and my mom kind of got scared about that.’
‘When I first got out, I was like, man I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I’m out, I’m just still thinking about getting away from the army and still trying to find my place here. Right now I guess I’m finding my place here. Hopefully, you know, just make something out of myself.’
American Indian or Alaska Native
American Indian or Alaska Native
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
Native American
( 19% )
Native Americans
in combat
( 48% )
Native Americans
in combat
( 48% )
Native Americans
on active duty
are young
( 49% )
Native Americans
are underserved
Native Americans
are underserved
For nearly two years, Navajo tribal member Tyson Bahe was a cavalry scout
with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.
Securing villages, kicking down doors, leading a team.
He knew his team by name. By personality.
He knew his weapons.
He carried maps. Batteries. Ammunition.
He carried responsibility for the lives of his team every time they went out.
Nowadays, Tyson goes to school. He’s 23.
He gets there early. He does his homework the same day. He herds sheep for his family.
He deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tyson used to wait for something to happen when he was in Afghanistan …
for bullets to fly, for a firefight.
Now, he waits for something to happen in Gallup, New Mexico.
In the classroom. At home. With the sheep.
Tyson Bahe is one of 150,000 Native American veterans living in the United States.
While that’s only a tiny fraction of veterans in America,
Native Americans have the highest percentage of veterans among minority races.
Consider: Native American women are more likely to enter the military
than their non-Native counterparts.
Over 48 percent of Native Americans in uniform reported service in combat
a percentage higher than all other races.
And almost half of all Native Americans on active duty are young
between the ages of 17 and 24.
Despite their dedication, they are among the most underserved population
of veterans in the country.
Then there’s another fact.
Native Americans have served in every war in U.S. history
fighting alongside Americans
like when the Onondaga declared war on Germany during World War I
and against Americans: King Philip’s War,
when the Wampanoag tried to drive colonists
out of what is now New England.
So you might ask,
Why would Native men and women go to fight for this country?
There is no clear or clean answer.
But there are stories. 150,000 stories. From 566 tribes.
Tyson is just one.