fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 

ARLINGTON, Va.  — The Pentagon hosted a historic celebration today in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. 

The celebration was the first of its kind and included a presentation of an eagle staff and military colors by the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society from Oklahoma, dance performances, and presentations by speakers from various branches of the U.S. military. 

“Native people have been serving in the military since before we were citizens,” U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Maureen Trujillo, also an enrolled citizen of the Cochiti Pueblo, said during the celebration. “As of 2020, there are just over 20,000 of the active duty force is American Indian or Alaskan Native and approximately 140,000 American Indians call themselves veterans today.”

The event was organized to pay tribute to the service of American Indian veterans throughout American history. 

Hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard of the Pentagon for the celebration rich with traditional American Indian culture, including an opening prayer by Pechanga Band of Indians Tribal Chairman Mark Morocco, traditional drum groups, including the Uptown Singers and a group of singers from the Cochiti Pueblo. 

Speakers at the event included American Indian veterans and Native and non-Native the Department of Defense officials

“We were able to break the Japanese and German codes, but no one has ever been able to break ours,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Environment and Energy Resilience Richard Kidd said to Thursday’s crowd. “As a result, this administration is investing millions of dollars into Indigenous language preservation.”

After the presentations concluded, a round dance was announced by Meskwaki and Navajo Nation traditional dancer Larry Yazzie. Then, local drum group The Uptown Singerz sang a series of songs while people visited, smiled and took photos of the historic celebration at the Pentagon.

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 
 

Former Pentagon Force Protection Agency Senior Advisor and Blackfeet Nation citizen Dr. Walter Lamar commented on the occasion’s significance. 

“It was a dream to one day hear the sounds of American Indian drums and singing in the hallways of the largest military building in the world,” Lamar said during Thursday’s event.

On Friday, the National Museum of the American Indian is hosting the dedication for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. Hundreds of American Indian veterans are anticipated to participate in the dedication, which includes presentations and performances by many American Indian tribes, artists, and veterans. 

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (April 21 2024): D.C. Briefs
Q+A: Journalist Connie Walker Reflects on Season 3 of 'Stolen' Podcast Investigating Navajo Nation MMIP Cases
Native Bidaské with Sarah Eagle Heart (Oglála Lakota) on the Indigenous Fashion Collective
Twelve Cherokee Nation Cyclists, 950 Miles: The 40th Annual Remember the Removal Bike Ride
Leona Carlyle-Kakar (Ak-Chin), Instrumental in Securing the 1st Water Rights Settlement in Indian Country, Walks On

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

 
About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.