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National Native American Heritage Month

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- I want to take time in the last post of the month (or the first of the new month by the time this comes out) to recognize and celebrate our Indigenous brothers and sisters. A few may be aware that November is National Native American Heritage Month. It is a month for us to reflect and remember the wonderful contributions that Native Americans have made to this country. A majority of our states names, rivers, roads, cities, counties, and landmarks are Native American. While Thanksgiving was officially established as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the concept of coming together after the harvest to celebrate and give thanks and feast was a Native American concept. Approximately 60% of the world’s food supply comes from Native American agricultural methods and crops. Furthermore, in the military, Navajo service members in WWII provided unbreakable code that proved critical in the victory of the Allied troops. They made these contributions with strength, dignity, resolve and grace. They represent the very definition of the word “resiliency”.

Today there are 15,304 active duty service members that identify as American Indian or Alaskan Natives. They continue to stand as a beacon of light, inspiration and hope today. I said earlier that during this month we are called to “reflect” and “remember”, but not in the sense that Native people are a relic of the past. They are still here. They are alive and well. They are involved and fighting for their voices and stories to be heard. Whether or not you took time to research and learn something new about Native American culture or history in November, do it now. There are myriads of videos, documentaries, and stories being told from their voices and perspective. Let’s take time out to listen and learn.

If there are any Native American service members or civilians on Barksdale that may read this, I just want to say thank you.