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COMMENTARY: Native American heritage month

By Chaplain (Capt.) Meade Adams 2nd Bomb Wing Chapel

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Chief Seattle of the native Suquamish and Duwamish people once said, “All things share the same breath. The beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” 

November is nationally recognized as Native American Heritage Month. We celebrate various heritages throughout the year in this country, but we need to educate ourselves about people different from us during the course of our daily lives and routines. Of all the people groups recognized during each month celebrating a particular heritage, we most likely overlook our Indigenous brothers and sisters because we simply do not encounter them as often as others. That very fact is a reminder of their mistreatment and relegation to the fringes of American society.

Native American Heritage Month calls us to remember. It calls us to educate ourselves and it calls us to challenge our stereotypes, misconceptions and presuppositions. It calls us to honor those Indigenous brothers and sisters that came before and those that are here among us. It calls us to stand and speak out against injustice of all who are oppressed and marginalized. It calls us to recognize the humanity of all people and to empathetically experience their experiences.

One way we can remember, honor and educate ourselves during this month is to think and reflect on the very land on which you are sitting. Northwest Louisiana was home to the Osage and Caddo tribes. We live and drive through “Caddo” parish every day and most of us did not even know this was the name of the people group that originally lived here. The next time you drive over the bridge into Shreveport and see the “Caddo parish” sign, take a second to reflect and remember. Look up these people groups this week to learn about them and pay homage to these brave and wonderful people who called this land home.