Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content
7 minutes reading time (1441 words)

Native American Heritage Month

The United States observes Native American Heritage Month in November and Native American Heritage Day the day after Thanksgiving, with this year being November 24. This month and day are designated as a time to commemorate the history, heritage, and culture of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.


The United States observes Native American Heritage Month in November and Native American Heritage Day the day after Thanksgiving, with this year being November 24. This month and day are designated as a time to commemorate the history, heritage, and culture of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. 'Native American' is a broad term that encompasses several different cultures and peoples, with roughly 574 federally-recognized tribes and groups within the United States and many more that are state- or culturally-recognized. In the 2020 Census, more than 2% of the population identified as Native American or Alaskan Native.


Native Americans have always been warriors and have fought to defend their families, cultures, and lands – even from the United States. Despite this complicated relationship and tragic history, many American Indian men and women have served in the U.S. military. Within the Air Force, a little less than 1% of individuals identify as Native American. While this may not seem like a lot, historically Native Americans have the highest per capita service rate compared to any other ethnic group. During World War I and II, Native Americans honorably defended their homelands and the United States, with some having the role as "Code Talkers," tasked with sending coded messages about troop movements, enemy positions, and other critical information on the battlefield. A variety of American Indian languages were used for this, and while many of the individuals received medals and recognition for their bravery, there was not a broad recognition of the impact of the Code Talkers until decades later. The project was not declassified until 1968, and the individuals were not formally recognized by Congress until 2008. Today, language remains a critical piece of the cultural identity of Native American and Alaskan Native communities, with tribes and groups working hard to keep Native languages alive.


Local Spotlights

This month, we recognize the role Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have played in both shaping and defending the United States, and say thank you to all who are currently serving in the military. As such, we will be highlighting one individual from the Tri-base community each week! Read about our highlights below:

Keavy
Le'Ann Rake

Cultural Background
Shawnee/Cherokee
(Chowanoac) Houma
Appalachian

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced:

There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the. U.S. and 63 State recognized tribes in 11 States. Each is unique and diverse with their own language, customs, and even physical appearance. Much of what is depicted of Indigenous culture is on western or plains tribes.

Many parts of "American Culture" have native and indigenous roots - from sports like LaCrosse to more known geographical names like Mississippi, to foods we eat like popcorn and even folklore and myths like the Mothman prophecies, which comes from the curse of Chief Cornstalk (my clan). Even all Army helicopters are named after Native American tribes.

I'd love to see more language learning. Many apps like Duolingo and Mango now have Native languages like Dine (Navajo).

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Mostly through educating our Host Nation partners and friends about the culture. There are also local Pow Wows to attend. And, I have become an active member of the Tri-base NAHO (Native American Heritage Organization).

Anything else you would like to have shared

There are a lot of fantastic Native artists, actors, and musicians - and many great Native movies, books, and TV shows. Go check some out, and support Native artists!

North America was known as Turtle Island!

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women awareness. As of 2022, there were 5,293 known incidents of missing & murdered Native American and Alaska Native women and girls. Only 690 cases have been logged into the Department of Justice database. This is an improvement from 2016 when there were 5,712 cases and only 116 were logged into the DoJ database. 4,244 of those were women and girls under the age of 20. May 5th is MMIW/P day - you'll often see the red hand over the mouth symbol with the words "No More Stolen Sisters." This is a very real and very tragic epidemic in Native communities.

Alyssa Hogerty

Military Affiliaton

Active Duty Spouse

Cultural Background

Lakota

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced:

The Lakota people are the large western branch of Sioux people. Lakota means Peace People, Allies, or Friends.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Inviting locals to learn about our culture and joining the NAHO

Anything else you would like to have shared

Going to our local pow wow and listening to all the elders tell stories holds a very special place in my heart. I'm excited to share this with you at the upcoming pow wow on RAFL on the 18th.

Cadyn Cutschall

Military Affiliaton

USAF

Cultural Background

Rose Bud Sioux Tribe Member

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Joining the NAH group

Anything else you would like to have shared

My grandfather grew up on the reservation, then joined the Korean War

Summer Kochel

Military Affiliaton

Air Force Spouse

Cultural Background

Native American - Navajo

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced:

I wish to speak my Navajo language to practice the pronunciation and to preserve my heritage and history. In the past, many Navajo children attended English-only schools, and American English culture and language changed Navajo identity. The cause for the decrease in Navajo speakers is that children do not learn the language at home today. It's hard to learn Navajo, and I'm doing my best! It's best to learn pronunciation by listening to the radio station app KTTN broadcast in English and Navajo.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

I have included my culture in my team overseas to embrace the Navajo history and tradition learned about the Code Talkers of World War II. They developed code in Navajo language to communicate. I wish more people in the world could learn about these great men. I'm lucky to be here. I have been traveling through the different worlds, learning life lessons in each one before moving on to the next. Be respected and cherished. It's beautiful children are learning to speak the language and history. Thank you to all the men and women you have or are serving our country. Thank you to the Code Talkers. (Ahéhee')

Andrew Todachinnie

Military Affiliaton

US Air Force

Cultural Background

Navajo

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced:

You don't whistle at night. It gives away your position.

How have you incorporated your culture into your time overseas at this base?

Lately I've been doing sage baths at our smoke pit to clean the mind and body. It allows me to keep negative spirits out of my work.

Anything else you would like to have shared

My biological parents are both Caucasian. I was adopted by Navajo father and so I have his last name. One of my Navajo aunts was asked "Who's that white boy, I've been seeing around lately?". She responded "Oh, that's my nephew Andrew. I forgot he's white lol"

Lavendar Schuler

Military Affiliaton

AD Air Force

Cultural Background

Native American

Tell us about something from your culture that you wish was more widely known/practiced:

Native restaurants

Anything else you would like to have shared

My family's tribe is based up in Canada but migrated down to Michigan. We own the Little River Band Casino 


Native Words, Native Warriors. (n.d.). Americanindian.si.edu. https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/code-talkers/

American Indian History and Heritage | NEH-Edsitement. (n.d.). Edsitement.neh.gov. https://edsitement.neh.gov/teachers-guides/american-indian-history-and-heritage

National Native American Heritage Day and Month celebrates respect, culture, education. (2022, November 24). Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. https://rb.gy/pb4vt

Bureau, U. C. (n.d.). A Look at the Largest American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Villages in the Nation, Tribal Areas and States. Census.gov. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2023/10/2020-census-dhc-a-aian-population.html 

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Saturday, May 18, 2024

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.lakenheathfss.com/