Funding will continue until an estimated $750,000 is donated. Those funds will pay for the updated costs of the entry way, walkways, and the flagstone central plaza where THE GIFT will be placed, plus landscaping, fencing and stone walls near the large circular area. It will also cover the costs of the Unity Circle which will be installed within the borders of the circle in red, white, black and yellow ceramic tile.

Your donation will help construct he first major monument honoring our Nation’s indigenous veterans that is located at a National Cemetery.

THE AMERICAN INDIAN VETERANS MEMORIAL will be the first major monument honoring our Nation’s indigenous veterans that is located at a National Cemetery. The Riverside, California, National Cemetery has the largest acreage of any National Cemetery in the U.S. The staff of the RNC assists with approximately 40 to 50 interments every week day.

Why in the West?

RNC performs more services annually than any other U.S. National Cemetery. Many of these ceremonies are for American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Pacific Islander indigenous veterans’ families. The RNC is the largest in acreage of all U.S. National Cemeteries and it’s estimated to be available for burials through 2050.  

Our nation’s West Coast, from Alaska to California’s southern border, is home to more indigenous families than any other region in the nation. And also, of significance, the Riverside National Cemetery is on Indian land that was once home to the Cahuilla tribes.  Five Indian governments and reservations are located nearby, in Riverside County, with 19 tribal reservations (more in one county than any state) in adjacent San Diego County.  California has 109 federally recognized tribal governments. Nearby Los Angeles city has the largest population of urban Indians, making the Riverside National Cemetery geographically centered for American Indian and Alaskan Native Veterans. 


Early in 2022, several large donations were received from donors such as  San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Veterans of Foreign Wars’ California Council of Administration, plus a matching donation of up to $100,000  from the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee. Those donations and several from others such as SEMPRA, VFW posts and individuals helped us reach our goal of $562,488, the estimated amount of probable cost to contruct the American Indian Veterans Memorials. This goal was the amount submitted to the Veterans Administration / National Cemetery Administration in July 2019 and approved by then-VA-Secretary Wilkie in August 2020. That approval led to a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the American Indian Veterans Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery September 25, 2020. The ground breaking ceremony was not open to the public due to Covid 19 pandemic regulations.

The pandemic caused several delays during the ensuing year and a half.  It affected donations significantly as the American Indian Alaska Native Veterans Memorial Committee elected to reduce requests for donations at public gatherings and instead, initiated grant requests.  As stated in the preceding paragraph, however, the goal was finally reached and we were ready to begin construction early this year.

Since the probable costs estimate included a 20% contingency fund, we felt that the construction account would be sufficient to complete the Memorial. To confirm that supposition, however, the general contractor of the project sent out bid requests for various subcontractor’s work.  

By June when updated bids were returned, it became apparent that the 2019, 20% contingency was not sufficient to insure completion of the Memorial with the funds on hand. Our Spring celebration turned into a determination to return to fundraising so the Memorial can be completed.  As is now apparent supply chain issues, payroll and materials increased costs have led to much higher construction costs than pre-pandemic times. That “much higher construction cost” means we need to receive $750,000 more in donations (which includes a new 20% contingency) before we can initiate moving dirt to prepare the site for construction.

Since this project began in the Fall of 2005, soon to be 17 years ago, more than two million dollars have been donated. Expenses in the amount of $938,828, have already been paid for:

  1. $495,000 for THE GIFT centerpiece statue. It was delivered from Berkley’s Mussi Art Foundry to the Riverside National Cemetery in May 2018, and is currently securely stored and awaits installation.
  2. $32,000 for two TRIBUTE EAGLES sculptures. They are being held for shipping until the granite pedestals arrive so they can be set up at the entry of the Memorial site.
  3. $50,000, a required perpetual maintenance fund, has been submitted to and is held by the VA/NCA.
  4. $16,564 down payment has been made for two granite eagle pedestals and 24 granite seating blocks. They are being fabricated by ColdSprings Granite in Minnesota. ColdSprings has advised they will be ready to ship early 2023.
  5. $345,263 was paid to prepare landscape plans, engineering and start-up costs. These expenses were needed to complete the application to the NCA/VA for approval of the site and plans for the American Indian Veterans Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery.

With the already paid $938,828, plus the $500,000+ we have on hand and the $750,000 estimated additional funds needed, the total cost of the Memorial will be between two to two and a half million dollars. That’s certainly more than expected, but then we didn’t expect a two year pandemic delay, nor a cost of living increase/ inflation  that hasn’t been seen since the 1980’s. What does this tell me?

It says that we need to receive donations and begin construction by January 2023, so our 20% contingency will suffice to complete the first major memorial at any U.S. National Cemetery honoring American Indian Veterans. 

Below is the flyer we have recently prepared to use as we approach prospective donors. Please feel free to print it out and pass it on to any person or company who may want to participate in seeing this long-awaited Memorial completed.  We need your help.  The more people who spread the word about this project, then the more donations are likely.  If you or those friends, neighbors, coworkers or employers have questions, refer them to this website or simply give me a call.  

With gratitude and hope,

Sharron Savage



What is unique about this Memorial?

  • Its location – Remembering our indigenous veterans at a National Cemetery alongside the other warriors with whom they fought and served displays the service and courage that all United States military men and women share, regardless of their backgrounds, ranks, culture, ethnicity, or beliefs.
  • Its purpose – It will honor the over 250 years of military service by our indigenous citizens. It will also serve as a tranquil water-side place to reunion, reflect and heal. And it will be a place of learning via the National Cemetery’s “Legacy Program.” 


When an additional $750,000 has been raised, construction will begin. Our goal is to receive these donations from September through 2022 yearend so construction can begin in January or February 2023. If that is successful, the Dedication will be held a few weeks prior to Memorial Day 2023.

CLICK HERE to see the landscape plan.


Sendoff, Welcome & Last Phase!


    May 22, 2019 - Sendoff Blessing Ceremony for "The Gift" from Mussi Artworks Foundry Sculpture Garden in Berkeley, CA READ MORE

  • WELCOME HOME to sacred grounds

    May 27, 2019 - Welcome Home Ceremony & Blessing at the Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA READ MORE


    Construction of where "The Gift" will be placed is the final phase of the monumental project. To see the architect's renderings and cost breakdown CLICK HERE.

AIANVMC Executive Group

From left to right: National American Indian Veterans, Inc., Government Liaison Frank Ramirez, AIANV Memorial Committee Chair Sharron Savage, Native American Veterans Association, L.A. President Ted Tenario, RNC’s Craig Ansell, AIANVMC Honorary Chairman Bo Mazzetti (Tribal Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians), Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee Chairman Paul Adkins, VA/NCA  Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs Randy Reeves and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie. Others who broke ground with this group who are not visible in this photo are San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Ken Ramirez, Isabella Lyons, daughter of Morongo Band of Mission Indians former Chairman Maurice Lyons; and UCR’s Legacy Program representative Michelle Raheja; and Sculptor of THE GIFT Tom Schomberg
Sharron Savage and Chairman Mazzetti at the check-in table, following the ceremony
One of two TRIBUTE EAGLE sculptures by Mike Curtis, renowned bronze wildlife artist/sculptor.

Honorary Chairman Bo Mazzetti – Tribal Council Chairman, Rincon Band of Luiseňo Indians, Pauma Valley, CA; U.S. Navy Veteran, Vietnam; phone & email - 760.749.1092, bomazzetti@aol.com

Chairwoman Sharron Savage – Ojibwa Descendant, L’Anse Band of Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay, MI; Retired Council Staff for Morongo Band of Mission Indians; phone & email – 951.306.5656, ac.sl.savage@gmail.com

Paul Adkins – Chairman of the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee, phone & email – 951.202.5353, 82nmedic@earthlink.net

Vice Chairman Frank Johnson – Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Member; U.S. Army Specialist 5, Vietnam. Former Chairman Morongo Planning Commission. phone & email – 760.408.9425, phrank2631@aol.com

Veterans Coordinator Angelo Schunke - Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Member, Banning, CA; U.S. Navy, Retired; Contractor /Business Owner; Member of Morongo Planning Commission; phone & email - 909.229.2273, sunk@integrity.com

Cynthia Schomberg – Sculptor’s Agent, Schomberg Studios, Evergreen, Colorado & Palm Springs, California; phone & email – 303.674.4807 & 303.905.1205, schombergstudios@att.net

Public Relations and Media Coordinator Nikki Symington – Retired, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians Public Relations; phone & email – 619.922.2172, nsymington42@gmail.com

David Roman –Taino, Arawak Indian Nation Tribal Member; U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam, Retired; Tribal Court Morongo Band of Mission Indians; phone & email 760-799-9081, modakathanyou@yahoo.com

Daniel Smith III – Cherokee ancestry; MGySGT. U.S. Marine Corps, Retired; Riverside National Cemetery Memorial Honor Detail, Chairman of the Board; phone & email 951.961.4012 and 951.377.4988, mastergunns3@aol.com

Celebrity Spokesperson Saginaw Grant – Native American character actor, dancer, motivational speaker and the Hereditary Chief of the Sac-n-Fox, Iowa and Otoe-Missouria Nations; Recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award at Oceanside International Film Festival for his movie and TV work

Manuel “Manny” Mendivil –Tohono O’odham Nation Member; USMC Vietnam Veteran; phone & email – 626.465.9308, mendivilmanuel5@gmail.com

★ ★ ★★

Maurice Lyons, In Memoriam, Emeritus 2005 Originator of American Indian Veterans Memorial Project, Former Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Council Chairman

U.S. Air Force Brig. General Stan Brown, In Memoriam, Emeritus 2005 Originator of American Indian Veterans Memorial Project, Former Commander March Field Air Base