When military people hear the words Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Lakota, and Black Hawk, automatically know that these are US Army helicopters. The civilian world generally knows them as the names of Native American tribes. This is not just some coincidence or some sort of random name-choosing. In fact, the US Army had been naming its helicopters after Native American tribes for decades now.

A Croatian Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior at AirVG 2018. (Ivekbeg5CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

American Indian Wars

Beginning the earliest colonial settlements in the 17th century until the early 20th century, The American Indian Wars were fought first by European governments and the colonists in North America. Later on, it became the United States and Canadian governments and their respective settlers versus American Indian and First Nation Tribes. Various wars occurred due to a lot of factors.

The European governments and their colonies enlisted their allied Indian tribes to help them conduct warfare against other colonial settlements. Many local conflicts in certain states and regions were frequently due to disputes over land use, but as settlers spread westward across North America, the armed conflicts between settlers and various Indian and First Nation Tribes grew in size, duration, and intensity.

The most intense, perhaps, was the War of 1812 when major Indian coalitions in the Midwest and the South battled against the United States and lost. After then, conflicts became less common and were quickly resolved by treaty. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was signed and authorized the American government to enforce the removal of the Indians from east of Mississippi River and to the Indian Territory on the west American frontier. The Indian tribes were relocated to reservations. But above all these, the Native Americans also fought alongside the United States as some of the fiercest warriors, and they did so for more than 200 years. In fact, 32 Native Americans were recipients of the Medal of Honor.