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Lori Piestewa

Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa (December 14, 1980 - March 2003) was an Army soldier who was killed during the same Iraqi Army attack in which her friend Jessica Lynch was injured. She was 23 years old.

A member of the Hopi tribe, Piestewa was the first Native American killed in the 2003 Iraq war. Because of that, many entities have either honored or wanted to honor her memory with memorials, etc. Members of Arizona's government proposed to name the Squak Peak area the Piestewa Peak, and senator Tom Daschle paid her honor, as did Indian Nations across America. A scholarship fund was set in her name, and the Grand Canyon Games organizers announced they will hold, from July 17 to July 20, the first Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, which will bring participants from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to Arizona. The whole town unified after her dissapearence. Her name was spelled out in white stones on a mesa near the town. Signs around town read, "Put your porch light on, show Lori the way home."

Piestewa's parents went to visit Jessica Lynch to the hospital almost as soon as Lynch arrived in the United States.

Piestewa was born and raised in Tuba City. A town with more than a 50% unemployment rate, where most of the population lives in trailers, serving in the military is an attractive proposition. Despite general Native American opposition to United States military action, both her father and grandfather had served in the army. Neighbors described her as, while generally supportive of the job, having joined primarily to provide a secure income for her and her two children, Brandon (4) and Carla (3). This trend is common amongst minorities in the United States armed forces.

Her death led to a rare joint prayer gathering between members of the Hopi and Navajo tribes, which have had a centuries-old rivalry.

See also: [| What About Private Lori?]