• Lenny Harmon of the Youghtanund Drummers and Singers performs the prairie chicken dance during the National Native American Heritage Month event Nov. 12 at the Fort Lee Theater. Harmon, a Lenape tribesman, said the dance has its roots in a mating ritual.

    Prairie chicken dance

    Lenny Harmon of the Youghtanund Drummers and Singers performs the prairie chicken dance during the National Native American Heritage Month event Nov. 12 at the Fort Lee Theater. Harmon, a Lenape tribesman, said the dance has its roots in a mating...

  • Annette Price of the Youghtanund Drummers and Singers group throws up her shawl exposing stringy fringes during the fancy shawl dance Nov. 12 at the National Native American Heritage observance at the Lee Theater.

    Shawl dance

    Annette Price of the Youghtanund Drummers and Singers group throws up her shawl exposing stringy fringes during the fancy shawl dance Nov. 12 at the National Native American Heritage observance at the Lee Theater.

  • Sarah Arrigo and 4-year-old daughter, Lily, perform the jingle dance of prayer and healing during the National Native American Heritage Month observance Nov. 12 at the Lee Theater. The show featured story-telling, cultural awareness and performances by members of the Youghtanund Drummers and Dancers.

    Mom and daughter

    Sarah Arrigo and 4-year-old daughter, Lily, perform the jingle dance of prayer and healing during the National Native American Heritage Month observance Nov. 12 at the Lee Theater. The show featured story-telling, cultural awareness and performances by...

  • Alicia Gear of the Choctaw and Monacan tribe stands with full tribal regalia as Dr. Aaron Winston provides an explanation about the meaning of the apparel and accessories.  Gear was part of the National Native American Heritage Month event Nov. 12 at the Lee Theater.

    Standing proudly

    Alicia Gear of the Choctaw and Monacan tribe stands with full tribal regalia as Dr. Aaron Winston provides an explanation about the meaning of the apparel and accessories. Gear was part of the National Native American Heritage Month event Nov. 12 at...

  • Dr. Aaron Winston takes to the podium to explain the true history of native peoples during the National Native American Heritage Month observance Nov. 12 at the Lee Theater.

    Native American history

    Dr. Aaron Winston takes to the podium to explain the true history of native peoples during the National Native American Heritage Month observance Nov. 12 at the Lee Theater.

FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 13, 2013) -- Singing and dancing for the purpose of entertainment is one thing, but when used to educate, they can provide context to messages that make them more meaningful and substantial.

The subject in case was the National Native American Heritage Month observance held at the Lee Theater Tuesday.

The teachers -- the multi-tribal Youghtanund Drummers and Singers -- used music and dance to explain the culture of their tribes to dispel myths and bring clarity to a distorted image and history.

"There's a lot of misinformation about native peoples out there," said Youghtanund's youngest member, Sarah Arrigo, about its mission. "We are mythical to many people. They either don't know we still exist or they think we are what they see in old Westerns, and that's not truly what we are about."

The students, about 500 Soldiers, mostly from the Logistics Noncommissioned Officer Academy, packed the theater. They witnessed vocalizations, drumbeats and dances that accompanied messages and information ranging from the meaning of eagle feathers to the esteemed place of women in tribal societies. Near the end of the performance, many gathered around the drummers in a participatory number. One of the NCOs said the performances were unmistakable.

"To be honest with you, I thought it was a dynamic program," said Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton Johnson, LNCOA commandant. "I thought it was enlightening and you would have to be impaired in some way to not have a better appreciation for the history and culture of Native Americans."

Maj. Ebony Lambert was the guest speaker for the observance. The Installation Equal Opportunity Office coordinated the event, and the LNCOA hosted it.

Page last updated Wed November 13th, 2013 at 00:00