The public is invited to visit Cuba’s Recklein Auditorium this month to see the traveling Smithsonian exhibit Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces. The display explores the history of Native American military service and their unique contribution of having a higher modern per capita enlistment rate than any other ethnic group.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear of the Osage Nation will open the exhibit during a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday. Missouri Osage elder Jim Duncan will also speak and give a multimedia presentation during the grand opening on the history of the Osage in Missouri.

Patriot Nations is on loan to the Crawford County Library District from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. It will remain open in Cuba during the library’s regular operating hours until Feb. 7. As part of hosting the exhibit, the Crawford County Library District will also be coordinating a special Thursday evening speakers’ series at Recklein Auditorium focused on Native American history.

The series is tentatively scheduled to feature:

• Lindsey Kaye Manshack will present “Then and Now: American Indian Representation in Missouri” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14.

• Galen Gritts will present “On Being Cherokee” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21.

• Glen and Curtis Tutterow will speak on the vision, planning and construction of Cuba’s Osage Trail Legacy Monument at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Both designed and built the monument.

• Suzanne White will speak on the Cherokee storytelling tradition at 6 p.m. Feb. 4.

The Crawford County Library District invited members of the press for an advanced open house at the exhibit Jan. 3. Its 16 panels were revealed to document 250 years of Native American military service ranging from the Revolutionary War to modern conflicts. Among the figures its spotlights are Ira Hayes, who helped raise the American Flag over Iwo Jima; Bunkston Johnson, who served with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish American War; Joe Medicine Crow, who was honored as a war chief by the Crow Nation for his exploits during World War II; and Ely Parker, who served with U.S. Grant during the Civil War and helped accept Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

“The Crawford County Library District is thrilled we were chosen by Missouri Humanities Council as one of five places in the state to display this exhibit,” said Director Elizabeth Outar of the Crawford County Library District during the Jan. 3 open house. Outar said all three Crawford County school districts will be sending field trips to attend the exhibit. She added school districts in neighboring counties are welcome to also schedule a visit.

“Our main focus in getting this display is the educational aspect of it,” said Annalee Williams of the Crawford County Library District Board of Directors. “This is the second Smithsonian display Cuba’s library has hosted and it is the fourth special exhibit we have displayed in the county over the past year. We are constantly working to bringing educational opportunities to our communities.”

Recklein Auditorium is located at 202 North Smith Street in Cuba.

For more information about the Patriot Nations exhibit contact the Crawford County Library District at (573) 885-7324.