Showing posts with label Native American Veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Native American Veterans. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Navajo Nation for COVID-19 outbreak

Doctors Without Borders sent to Navajo Nation for COVID-19 outbreak

Associated Press
May 12, 2020

With roughly 175,000 people on the reservation, which straddles Arizona, New Mexico and a small corner of Utah, the Navajo Nation has seen 3,122 cases – a rate of nearly 18 cases per 1,000 people. At least 100 people have died.
Raynelle Hoskie attaches a hose to a water pump to fill tanks in her truck outside a tribal office on the Navajo reservation in Tuba City, Ariz., on April 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
TUBA CITY, Ariz. (TEGNA/AP) — The largest Native American reservation in the U.S. has some of the highest rates of coronavirus infections in the country.

The Navajo Nation has a population of roughly 175,000 and spans three western states. The tribe has seen more than 3,100 cases, and at least 100 people have died.

The organization Doctors Without Borders sent medical professionals to New Mexico to help the hard-hit Navajo Nation, according to national news outlets. CNN and CBS reported that the nine-person team arrived in late April to work with the Native American community.

"There are many situations in which we do not intervene in the United States, but this has a particular risk profile," said Jean Stowell, head of the organization's U.S. COVID-19 Response Team, to CBS.

The virus arrived on the reservation in early March, when late winter winds were still blowing off the mesas and temperatures at dawn were often barely above freezing.
read it here

Why should you care? Aside from the fact they are the original Americans...they, along with others contributed to making this nation what it is.

Navajo Code Talkers and the Unbreakable Code

Native American Medal of Honor Recipients going back to 1875

Native American Veterans Memorial Built To Recognize The Bravest Native Warriors To Ever Wear A Uniform
Source: YouTube/Gary Robinson
The Native American Veerans Memorial and the “Warrior’s Circle of Honor” will be dedicated on Veterans Day, 2020.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Vietnam Vet Wes Studi has 5 must see movies

5 Must-See Movies Starring Native American Vietnam Vet Wes Studi
By James Barber
Wes Studi stars in "Hostiles." (Entertainment Studios)

Vietnam veteran Wes Studi, a hardworking actor with almost 100 film and TV credits, will become the first Native American to be awarded an Oscar when he receives an Honorary Award this fall at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ceremony.

Studi didn't begin his acting career until he was in his thirties and has become one of Hollywood's go-to performers for Native American roles in modern westerns.
read more here

Under the Radar
Studi got on the phone to talk about movie but we ended up talking about his own service in Vietnam and why Native Americans commit themselves to military service just as much as we mentioned "Hostiles." It's a great movie about coming to terms with your enemies after the war is over.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Smithsonian not living up to honoring all Native American Veterans?

Why won't the Smithsonian agree to honor all Native American veterans in its new memorial?

The Hill

To be perfectly clear, individuals who serve in the USPHS and NOAA are veterans under federal law, entitled to all the rights and privileges thereof. They draw military pay and benefits, serve alongside their armed colleagues during our country’s wars, and are entitled to burial in Virginia cemeteries. They have served our country proudly for more than 100 years in NOAA’s case and for more than 125 years in the case of the USPHS.

The Smithsonian Institution is about make a huge mistake by creating a Native American Veterans Memorial that will omit certain Native American veterans.

The Smithsonian plans to construct this memorial on the National Mall, with groundbreaking scheduled for September 2019. It’s a wonderful idea — one that is long overdue.

Congress passed legislation in 1994 allowing the national monument to be built, and it took 24 years — until June 2018 — for the Smithsonian to agree to a memorial design. The design, which can be found on the Smithsonian website, consists of a series of concentric circles, which the Smithsonian says represent a “Warrior’s Circle of Honor.” The designer is Native American veteran Harvey Pratt, and it is a handsome design, indeed.

There is only one problem with it. It includes only the seals of the five armed forces, omitting the seals of both the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Veterans who earned their status by service in these two smallest of the seven federal uniformed services are understandably upset by this omission. We, meaning a non-profit organization that represents the officers in the USPHS, have called this omission to the Smithsonian’s attention, and our concerns have been summarily dismissed.

The reason offered by the Smithsonian reflects the narrowest possible interpretation of the 1994 law, which was clearly intended to honor all Native American veterans. In a letter to retired USPHS Rear Adm. George Blue Spruce, the first Native American dentist in our country’s history, Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton explained his reasoning: “The enabling legislation ... only references ‘Armed Forces.'
In September 2018, 26 member organizations of The Military Coalition, a group headquartered in Alexandria, Va., sent a letter to congressional leadership. The organizations whose signatures are on the letter represent all five of the armed forces, and also include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The letter cites the words of then-Rep. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), principal House sponsor of the 1994 law, who closed his remarks on the floor of the House when he introduced HR 2135, “with the hope that all our colleagues will join us in honoring our Native American veterans.”
read more here

Monday, August 14, 2017

Camp Pendleton National Navajo Code Talkers Day

On National Navajo Code Talkers Day, a look back at what started at Camp Pendleton
San Diego Union Tribune
Jeanette Steele
August 14, 2017
Navajo Code Talkers took part in every U.S. Marine Corps assault in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They transmitted messages by telephone and radio in their native language — a code the Japanese never broke. 

The idea came from Los Angeles resident Philip Johnston, a World War I veteran raised on a Navajo reservation as a missionary’s son. He took his concept to the Marines at Camp Elliot in San Diego, now Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. 

In May 1942, the first 29 Navajo recruits attended boot camp. Afterward, at Camp Pendleton, this group created the Navajo code for military terms. 
read more here

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Regina McIntyre Early, WWI Veteran, Montana Native American

Women veterans of WWI—so many stories yet to tell
KTVQ News Montana
By Ed Kemmick
Mar 25, 2017

An Army veteran from Laurel has been working for years to prepare for an event that will take place on April 6, the dedication of a memorial to women with ties to Yellowstone County who served in the military during World War I.

But Ed Saunders’ work is far from done.

He continues to search for the records of female veterans of the war from all over the state, and just this week he made one of his most exciting discoveries yet.

On Monday, Saunders confirmed that Regina McIntyre Early, an Army nurse who served in four hospitals in France during World War I, was an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in northwestern Montana.
Regina McIntyre Early’s discharge papers showed she served at multiple Army hospitals in France during and after World War 1. (Photo courtesy of Ed Saunders)
Saunders said McIntyre Early could quite possibly be the first female veteran of WWI who was an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe in Montana.

Thanks to Saunders’ research, the confederated tribes told Saunders on Thursday that they will be sending three female members of the Mission Valley Honor Guard, all of them tribal members, to the dedication of the World War I memorial on the lawn of the Yellowstone County Courthouse on April 6.

That day will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I.
read more here

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Native American Veteran: “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country."

New Mexican veteran heading back to Standing Rock
KOB 4 News
Joy Wang
November 25, 2016

Protesters aren't taking any holiday breaks as they continue demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There are a number of New Mexicans up at Standing Rock to help fight for that cause.

Many, including New Mexican and Veteran Jason Joe, are saying what's happening up there is unconstitutional

Joe was in Iraq about ten years ago. Joe says he sees a lot of similarities with what’s happening in North Dakota and what happened while he was in the military.

He says it's his duty as a veteran and an American to protect this land.

In September, Joe traveled 16 hours with his girlfriend from New Mexico to North Dakota.

“I am a Native American Veteran,” said Joe. “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country. I took an oath just like many of my brothers and sisters took that oath.”
read more here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Older Veterans in Northwest Committing Suicide in High Numbers

Veteran suicide numbers high in the Northwest
Whitney Ward
November 07, 2016

In Washington, more than half of those veterans who committed suicide were over the age of 65, while in Idaho, it was a full 65 percent.
Iraq war veteran couple Colleen Ryan and Jeff Hensley set up 1,892 American flags on the National Mall on March 27, 2014. The veterans installed the flags to represent the 1,892 veterans and service members who committed suicide that year.
Rates of veteran suicide vary widely by state. Certain factors that make someone more susceptible to suicide, things like being over the age of 45, in a rural area, American Indiana/Alaska Native or White, people from areas of higher poverty and lower education, and access to firearms.

Many of those people can be found in the Northwest.

In 2014, the state of Montana had the highest suicide rate in the country. Idaho came in as sixth, while Washington was farther down on the list.

read more here

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Veterans Healing PTSD Old Warrior Way

Vets turn to sweat lodges to treat PTSD 
KOAA News 5
February 10, 2016
"You pray for your enemies and people that don't like you," explains Cheek. "And that's difficult, and as a veteran, you're praying for those people that actually shot at you. That helps you come to terms with a lot of the stuff."
FORT CARSON - A centuries-old tradition has become a new form of treatment for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the Native American sweat lodge on Fort Carson is leading the way for military installations around the country.

What once was a ritual held in secrecy is now a growing trend among both active duty and veteran warriors seeking its legendary cleansing powers. In a remote section of Turkey Creek, the air is filled with songs and smoke at the Lakota Sioux inipi, a traditional sweat lodge made of willow branches and donated quilts. It has been there since 1995. "They didn't have a clue as to what we were doing, and we weren't telling them at the time," says faith group leader Michael Hackwith.

Hackwith, a Marine veteran of the Gulf War, started the inipi with a couple friends who wanted to follow their own cultural religious practice. They got permission from the manager of the Turkey Creek manager at the time. The participants pray, sing, play drums and sweat in the tent around dozens of hot stones, in complete darkness. It is a purity ritual designed to help sweat out negativity, a common problem for struggling soldiers.

Special Agent Kevin Cheek of the Air Force, now the military liaison for the sweat lodge, says, "I've deployed five times. I've been there and back, and all that negative baggage that you collect and the things that you see and stuff like that, this helps you cope. This helps you deal with all that."
read more here

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Iraq Veteran Died In Custody After Help Was Refused

'Very, Very Disturbing': Native American Veteran Dies in Police Custody
Indian County
Simon Moya-Smith
Less than 20 minutes later, Murphy is seen pacing the cell; he drops to his knees, pats his chest, falls and dies only 12 hours after being booked, KTOO reported.
Photo courtesy Ed Irizarry
Joseph Murphy, center and kneeling, died while in a holding cell at a correctional facility in Juneau, Alaska. Murphy was being held on non-criminal charges.
A Native American man died in holding cell in Juneau, Alaska, after prison staff there allegedly told him "You could die right now and I don't care," according to a newly released report reviewing the state's department of corrections.

Joseph Murphy, 49, of the Yup'ik people, was booked at 7 p.m. August 13 for intoxication at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and was placed in a holding cell for the evening, Lisa Phu of Juneau's KTOO Public Media reported. A video reviewed by the state shows a sober Murphy at 5:20 a.m. the next morning, but he appeared sweaty and and complained of chest pains to jail staff.

Murphy allegedly denied medical assistance.

According to the report, Murphy had begun to bang on the cell door when one of the jail staff members responded. Murphy and the guard then engaged in a heated verbal exchange with each other. The staff member allegedly told Murphy "I don't care. You could die right now and I don't care."
read more here

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Honored With Native American Tradition

Seneca veteran honored for service in Vietnam
‘I will treasure this day for the rest of my life’
Buffalo News
By Harold McNeil
News Staff Reporter
August 17, 2015
Years after his discharge from the Army in 1970, the stress of those experiences caught up to him, requiring treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lloyd Kettle, center, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, holds the eagle feather he was presented with Sunday by Iroquois Post 1587 members Cmdr. Bud Thompson, left, and Markey Jimerson, right, as the Erie County Fair in Hamburg celebrated Veterans Day.
John Hickey/Buffalo News

Lloyd M. Kettle accepted his eagle feather with pride Sunday, as the steady rhythm of Native American drums beat softly in the background.

It was among the highest of honors for the Vietnam veteran, 45 years after completing his military service, and played out for hundreds who gathered to watch the solemn ceremony on the Turtle Mound at the Erie County Fairgrounds.

“It’s a fantastic honor. I will treasure this day for the rest of my life,” Kettle said afterward.

The honor bestowed upon him Sunday is steeped in Native American tradition, even though the particular ceremony in which he took part goes back only four years, according to Markey Jimerson of American Legion Iroquois Post 1587 on the Cattaraugus Reservation.

“We had a guy, Melvin Joe Curry – he had the history of the Seneca Nation and the Iroquois Confederacy. He passed on about four years ago, and we’re trying to carry it on from there,” Jimerson said.
read more here

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Native Vietnam Veteran Hair Cut Off At Rehab Center

Native Veteran Has Traditional Long Hair Cut Off In Nursing Home 
Indian Country Today
Vincent Schilling
Courtesy Lillian Leno Native Veteran Barry Leno after his traditional ponytail was cut off at nursing facility.
A 65-year-old Native Vietnam veteran staying at the Ashland Rehabilitation Center and Nursing Facility in Ashland, Virginia has recently had his traditional long hair cut off without the permission of his family.

Barry Leno, (Algonquin, Seneca) who has had his hair in a traditional ponytail for decades and suffers from dementia, cried when his wife arrived at the facility recently and asked what happened. 

According to Leno’s wife, Lillian Leno, she went to visit her husband in the facility February 4 and discovered his hair was cut to above his shoulders. She said she was devastated to see her husband cry as he explained that his hair had been cut.

“I don’t know… (what happened,),” Lillian said. “I came in yesterday to visit him and his pony tail was cut off.

We have been married 32 years and he has had it as long as that. I asked him what happened, he said ‘I don’t know,’ and he started crying. He said ‘they cut it off.”
read more here

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

American Legion: veterans helping veterans

American Legion: veterans helping veterans
Navajo-Hopi Observer
Katherine Locke
November 26, 2013

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Orrin Chimerica, 40, has haunted eyes. Slightly watery and red, likely from the three shots he received hours ago for his lingering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

His eyes have seen more of the horror of war than many people. As a combat coreman (medic) in the United States Navy, he was the first person to patch up the injured on the battlefield.

The suicide a week and a half ago of a friend and fellow veteran who had completed two combat tours shook him but also made him more determined to inform veterans that there are places to go for help. As the new American Legion Post No. 3 Commander in Flagstaff, and the only Native American and Hopi to assume the post, Chimerica is in a position to deliver on that determination.

"I want to do this for everybody, not just Native Americans, but any veteran who comes through these doors, that's my job," Chimerica said. "A lot of people died for the flag."

The American Legion, while a closed and private club restricted to those who are veterans, Sons of the American Legion or part of the Ladies Auxillary, reaches out to the community in a number of ways all with the goal of helping veterans.
read more here

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Redskins honor members of the Navajo Code Talkers Association

Redskins honor members of the Navajo Code Talkers Association
Washington Post
November 25, 2013
As a joint celebration of the NFL’s Salute to Service month and Native American Heritage month, the Washington Redskins recognized four members of the Navajo Code Talkers Association.

The code talkers were a group of Native American service members who transmitted secret communications beginning in World War II.

Four representatives — Navajo Code Talkers Association President Peter MacDonald Sr., Vice President Roy Hawthorne and members George James Sr. and George Boyd Willie Sr. — were recognized during a commercial break during the first quarter of the Redskins’ game vs. the San Francisco 49ers.
read more here

Great Video tribute to Code Talkers on Washington Redskin site and Twitter is fired up over this.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Documentary looks at Native American traditions and PTSD

Healing PTSD is about as basic and natural as it can be but above all, close to free. It is as old as when the first war and has been recorded in the pages of the Bible but while you won't find the term we use today, you can see it in the writings of those who struggled with it.

Native Americans have also been dealing with PTSD for generations with sweat lodges, helping to find peace and honor with all living things on this earth. Much of what is done connects the veteran with what is already inside of them. Much like my job, I just help them find what is already there and has been there all along in their souls.
“Guilt and shame are the biggest things guys bring back with them,” Telonidis said. Often, veterans with PTSD have one particular image that is frightening and they relive it over and over. Sometimes it’s the death of a colleague or friend or a memory of killing an enemy.

The medicine man instructs the veteran to bring the spirits of the people in those memories with them into the sweat lodge. Then, he tells the veterans to have the conversation the veteran has been wanting to have with them all these years. Veterans are encouraged to talk to those people and tell them how they feel, and to ask forgiveness if they feel they need to."
The stories veterans tell me are all different but they have one thing in common. Their stories all involve forgiveness. Either forgiving someone else or forgiving themselves. Once that has been achieved, they begin to really heal no longer burden with guilt or hatred.

As long as they take care of their spiritual needs along with their minds and bodies, they heal and live better lives. As for what works, that all depends on what they already believe.
Documentary looks at Native American traditions and PTSD
Elko Daily Free Press
By Elaine Bassier
November 22, 2013

ELKO — Native American traditions may be the key to helping modern-day veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Taki Telonidis, the producer for the Western Folklife Center’s media office in Salt Lake City, has been working on a documentary called “Healing the Warrior’s Heart” that explores the ways some Native American tribes treat their veterans when they return from war.

Telonidis said around two million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some come home fine, others have life-changing injuries and “many are coming home with invisible drama,” or PTSD.

Some tribes refer to PTSD as a wounding of the soul, Telonidis said. Part of the veteran’s spirit is still on the battlefield, and he said the tribes have traditions that can heal his or her heart.

“What they’re trying to do is bring their spirit home,” Telonidis said.

He said a lot of Native Americans have lost their connection to the warrior spirituality, but he is seeing a revitalization of that idea. The traditional healing methods are not only working for some Native American soldiers — Telonidis has seen the method work for other veterans suffering from PTSD.

Telonidis is studying two specific locations for his film: the George Wallen Veteran Affairs Center in Salt Lake and the Blackfeet reservation in Montana and Canada.
read more here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Congress honors American Indian code talkers

Congress honors American Indian code talkers
Henry C. Jackson
November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, the wartime service of 96-year-old Edmond Harjo and other American Indian ‘‘code talkers’’ was something that wasn’t even officially acknowledged, let alone publically recognized.

But on Wednesday, Harjo sat in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall soaking in a standing ovation from hundreds of people — after an introduction from House Speaker John Boehner.

Harjo, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, is one of the last surviving members of a group of American Indians who used their native language to outwit the enemy and protect U.S. battlefield communications during World Wars I and II. In a ceremony Wednesday, congressional leaders formally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to American Indians known as code talkers honoring the service of 33 tribes.

From his seat, Lyle Cook watched the applause for Harjo and a procession of speeches proudly, with a lump in his throat.

Cook is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota. He said all he could think about were members of his tribe who served in World Wars I and II but didn’t live to receive the formal recognition that has been more than 70 years in coming.

‘‘It is wonderful, but it is a bittersweet moment,’’ said Cook, 52, an Army veteran. ‘‘I wish they were here.’’

Code talkers were represented Wednesday by tribal delegations, many in traditional dress, who packed Emancipation Hall. They represented 33 tribes from states including Arizona, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Members of American Indian tribes heroically exchanged sensitive military information by speaking to each other in their native tongues on the battlefield, eluding enemies trying to break U.S. military codes and dramatically speeding up the military’s ability to communicate.
read more here

Monday, November 4, 2013

PTSD and the Discharge Status of Vietnam Veterans

We Bleed Too: Tony Bush, PTSD and the Discharge Status of Vietnam Veterans
Huffington Post
K. J. Wetherholt
Posted: 11/03/2013
They were shooting machine gun fire at us, tracers coming at us at nighttime just like a war zone. We had some Vietnam vets with us, and they said, "Man, this is just like Vietnam."

- Jim Robideau, American Indian Movement (AIM), about the Wounded Knee Incident (1973) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in The American Experience: We Shall Remain (PBS)

The Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of six recognized Lakota reservations, has, as a nation, been one of the more historically powerful avatars of the Native American experience in the United States, both in terms of the long-term struggle for cultural survival, and because of a warrior tradition that remains deeply ingrained in the tribe's culture.

Despite the U.S. government having traditionally subjugated, marginalized, and even committed genocide against the Lakota, members of the Oglala nation have served in every branch of the service both before and since the Snyder Act (1924) and the Nationality Act of 1940 made Native Americans legal U.S. Citizens.

However, members of the Lakota who have served in the U.S. armed forces have been veterans of not just one kind of conflict, but two.

One has been the longer, more sustained siege historically against the Lakota, from the armed conquest of land originally belonging to the Sioux nations, to the usurping of mineral and other natural resource rights, to continued resistance regarding the right to maintain Lakota language, traditions, and cultural identity, epitomized by the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970's, including during the Wounded Knee Incident in 1973 (recently commemorated this year on its 40th anniversary), and the face-off between members of AIM and U.S. Marshalls in 1975.
read more here

We Bleed Too from Warriors from the Reservation on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

American Indian Association of Florida Pow Wow

Today at the Central Florida Fairgrounds it was a real treat to attend this event.

American Indian Association Pow-Wow – Fri, Sat, and Sun Nov 1-3 – Central Florida Fairgrounds at 4603 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32808. This event is free for military members in uniform and has a wonderful history of thanking those who have served (as many Native Americans are veterans.)

This 27th Annual gathering of all tribes features arts and crafts, entertainment, native dancing and clothing, more. Fri 1-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am – 5pm. Sunday is Girl Scout and Youth Day 10am – 1pm. Grand Entry/parade of nations: Fri 7pm; Sat 1pm and 7pm; Sun 1pm. $6 adults, $3 children and seniors. 407-474-0018

I also had a chance to speak to Roland Dempsey a local artist about his new endeavor, One Nation Art.

DOD Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
American Forces Press Service
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2013 – The Defense Department will celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Native Americans and Alaska natives during November in observance of Native American Heritage Month.

November was designated such as month by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. In a joint interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Joe Sarcinella, DOD's senior advisor and liaison for Native American Affairs, discussed the department's efforts to recognize Native Americans and their contributions to the country dating back to Revolutionary War.

“DOD is really committed to celebrating all sorts of diversity -- race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation,” Sarcinella said. “I really feel that they’re leading the charge and November just happens to be that time of the year when we can focus on Native Americans.”

In addition to his senior advisor duties, Sarcinella manages the Native American Lands and Environment Mitigation program, which deals with cleanup of DOD activities on tribal lands and other treaty lands.

“I’m also the lead trainer,” he said. “I’m in charge of managing American Indian Cultural Communication Course and the Native Hawaiian Cultural Communication Course as well where I go … instruct DOD personnel … as how to consult with indigenous people.”

Sarcinella said he also leads outreach for tribal people. “I interface with all of the federal departments and agencies on interagency collaboration and working with Native American governments.”

Native American Heritage Month “is an opportunity for the department to recognize that contribution and the rich cultures that there are,” Sarcinella said. “There are 566 federally recognized tribes throughout the lower 48 [states] and Alaska.” Sarcinella said the theme of this year's observance is: “Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and Tradition.”

Many people don’t realize that the Indian Wars were fought “all the way through the late 1800s,” he said. “But actually, [some American Indian] tribes were fighting right alongside colonials during the Revolutionary War.”

Many people today, he said, are aware of the important contributions made by the Navaho code talkers’ in the Pacific campaign during World War II, and Sarcinella said he believes Native Americans and Alaskan natives now have the highest per capita rate of military service of any ethnic group throughout the U.S. He noted that Native Americans and Alaska natives make up almost 16,000 members of the active force, and that nearly 160,000 others are veterans.

“In 2008, President [George W.] Bush posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to Woodrow Wilson Keeble, who was a Sisseton Wahpeton tribal member from Lake Traverse Sioux, and that was for his valor during the Korean War,” Sarcinella said.
read more here

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ms Veteran American contestant battles PTSD

Retired Army mechanic vies for Ms. Veteran America
The Gazette
By Erin Prater
Pueblo West resident and retired Sgt. 1st Class Mitchelene
Big Man will compete in the Ms. Veteran America.
(Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette)

COLORADO SPRINGS — Mitchelene Big Man knows tough.

She has braved some of life's worst storms, including post-traumatic stress disorder and her son's suicide attempt.

Through it all, the proud American Indian and retired Army mechanic kept a brave face.

She'll don that brave face again when she takes the stage of the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Va., on Sunday as Colorado's only contestant in the second annual Ms. Veteran America competition.

But nerves abound. Big Man's biggest worry: negotiating the stage in a ball gown and heels.

"The competition is going to pull me out of my comfort zone, which is Timberlands, tennis shoes and jeans," said Big Man, 48, a Pueblo West resident who spent the bulk of her career in a world dominated by men.

"My husband said it's bringing out the warrior and the lady in me, that I'll be a woman of valor and glamour at the same time."
read more here

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seminole Vietnam Vet Finally Being Acknowledged

Ceremony to Celebrate A Seminole Vietnam Vet Finally Being Acknowledged by the U.S. Military, November 1
By ICTMN Staff
October 31, 2012

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is proud to honor one of its fallen soldiers. Long after the passing of U.S. Army soldier Charlie Steel Gopher and after several years of tireless efforts from family members and Vietnam Veterans of America Bureau Chief, Marc McCabe, the United States Military has finally acknowledged a heroic soldier for his courage, valor and service to this great nation.

A special ceremony has been announced to pay homage and recognize Gopher, as officials will present his family with the medals that he earned during his service in Vietnam, along with military benefits that have been kept from his family for over 38 years. This event will be held at the prestigious, star-shaped, Florida Seminole Veterans Building located at 800 East Harney Pond Road, Okeechobee, Florida 34974, on the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, just north of Lake Okeechobee on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 10AM.
read more here

Monday, October 22, 2012

National Indian Health Board and VA team up to prevent suicides

There is much the Indian culture can teach the VA and much they can learn from them.
VA, IHS Join Forces to Improve Suicide Prevention Services to Veterans
Indian Country
By Carol Berry
October 22, 2012

Treatment options must be available for military veterans who need care, said Retired U.S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, speaking at the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) 29th Annual Consumer Conference, September 24-27 in Denver, Colorado.

Accounts of American Indians’ heroism abound, including that of a soldier who flung himself on a hand grenade to save comrades and who received the Medal of Honor posthumously, he said in a keynote speech to the NIHB general assembly.

The much-decorated Shinseki offered a cautionary tale by creating a hypothetical soldier, a Lakota, who had served two combat tours in Vietnam and who developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but held the common belief that “warriors are strong enough to handle the rigors of warfare” before he sought help.

In a current and positive move toward halting veteran suicides, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Indian Health Service (IHS) are joining forces to improve suicide prevention services, as described in sessions that were part of a Veterans Track, new this year to the NIHB conference program.

Even before the adoption of a formal agreement, the VA Office of Suicide Prevention and the IHS Division of Behavioral Health worked on reducing suicide among the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population, NIHB conference presenters said in a session on suicide prevention collaboration.

Males ages 20-24 have had the highest rate of suicide among the AI/AN population—47.47 per 100,000—the highest rate of all racial/ethnic/age groups in the U.S. and often the age group of returning veterans, noted presenters Krista Stephenson, VA deputy national suicide prevention coordinator, and Cleo B. Monette, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, behavioral health consultant at the Bemidji, Minnesota Area IHS.
read more here