Mary Jo May, senior Black Hills State University social science education major from Kyle, will have her research displayed at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fort Meade Nov. 16 -17 in the Credit Union corridor. She will be at the exhibit Wednesday, Nov. 16 to answer questions and share her experience with visitors.
In honor of National Native American Heritage month, the Department of Veterans Affairs, through the Veterans Health Administration History Office, has created a special traveling exhibition titled Native American Heritage. The exhibit features the contributions of Native Americans in the U.S. military and as veterans. May’s research is featured along with artwork by Anthony Belgarde, a student at Bemidji State University.
May created her part of the exhibit during her internship with the Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) program where she spent a summer working and studying in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was the only intern to have her exhibit chosen to be on display at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian.
May conducted research at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Women's Memorial Archives, and many other museums in the area. Through her research, she wrote articles on topics such as Native American women veterans, Native American Medal of Honor recipients, and Native American scouts. She also spent time researching Native American women in the military from South Dakota, including Marcella LeBeau, from Eagle Butte, and Ola Rexroat, from Box Elder.
May was recognized and honored by the South Dakota Legislature for her accomplishments in the WINS program and for the selection of her work to be displayed at the Smithsonian.
Contact Connie Moffitt at 605-745-2000, extension 2164 or Rosie Elmore at extension 2313 for more information on the exhibit.