Native Love: Navajo Soldier suprises Native American Woman Warrior – wife at Gathering of Nations Powwow. PHOTO Courtesy: Davis Couple
The Making of a Surprise Return is No Easy Task
ALBUQUERQUE – Planning a surprise return from active military duty in Afghanistan is no easy task.
For U.S. Air Force Captain Jukari Davis (Navajo), the task took over two months. Then again, he did not just show up at home. He surprised his wife, U.S. Air Force Captain Amileah Davis (Métis) in front of thousands at the 31st Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico last Friday.
“I was in Afghanistan thinking I cannot wait to get home so I can go to a powwow. I am a grass dancer. I learned to dance traditionally when I was four years old. I looked at the calendar and saw the Gathering of Nations Powwow. The dates were remarkably close to the time I was scheduled to come home,” said Captain Jukari Davis to Native News Online.
“There are typical ceremonial homecomings, but I thought what a nice thing it would be to surprise my wife at the Gathering of Nations Powwow. So I arranged with my commanding officer to come home early,” continued Davis.
“I had to get two commanding officers in on this – my commanding officer and hers. She was to dance in the color guard at the powwow and due to honored there. So I worked with Mitchelene BigMan, who is the founder of the Native American Women Warriors, to make sure to get her there. Mitchelene was excited she could help with this surprise.”
U.S. Air Force Captains Jukari and Amileah Davis. PHOTO Courtesy Davis Couple
Attending the powwow was not necessarily easy for Captain Amileah Davis, who was to be honored at the Gathering of Nations for her military service to the country. She is an Air Force counseling psychologist based the Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. While she has her Ph.D. in counseling, she is in the processed of being licensed.
“He knows I don’t like surprises, especially one like this in front of so many people,” said Captain Amileah Davis on Monday. “And the thing of it is, I am so busy studying for my licensing, as much as I wanted to attend the Gathering of Nations, I wanted to study too.”
For Captain Amileah Davis, the Gathering of Nations was the second time she took part in the Native American Women Warriors color guard.
“There was one other reason I wanted to do surprise my wife at the Gathering of Nations. You see these types of surprises on television, but you never see it happen in our community. I thought wouldn’t it be nice to do it so other Native people can enjoy it.”
The couple met while they both were undergraduate students attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Captain Jukari Davis is from Shiprock, New Mexico and Captain Amileah Davis grew up in Milwaukee.
“We both were powwow dancers,” said Captain Jukari Davis. “She is a jingle dress dancer and I am a grass dancer. I think that is why were initially attracted to one another. “We had common ground.”
In technological era, keeping surprises from a spouse can be challenging.
“He told me he used cash so I would not see his activity in our bank account,” said Captain Amileah Davis with laughter in her voice. “He worked very hard to keep this a surprise for me.”
While the couple was able to spend time together last weekend, by Monday, both were back at work at their respective Air Force bases. Captain Jukari Davis went back to his in New Mexico and will be able to transfer to Davis-Monthan AFB this month.