Post celebrates Native American Heritage
Richard Greybull performs the Veterans Dance, a dance that Native Americans use to honor their veterans, at the Fort Rucker Native American Heritage Month kickoff event Nov. 2 at the post exchange.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 8, 2012) -- Fort Rucker held a kickoff celebration for Native American Heritage Nov. 2-3 at the post exchange.

The event was held as a way to educate everyone about the history of Native Americans and celebrate the various cultures' contributions to the nation, according to Susie Antonello, Fort Rucker Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

"We are proud to host this event," said Antonello. "Native Americans have done so much for our military, and this is just a small way we can help educate everyone on what role they have played in our history."

The event was filled with sample tasting of Native American foods as well as items from several Native American tribes. Also, several representatives from the different Native American tribes were in attendance offering information to all interested.

"I am pleased to participate in this event," said Richard Greybull. "Not only am I a member of the Dakota Indian Tribe, I am also retired from the military and currently teach sixth grade here at Fort Rucker Elementary School. We should educate everyone on the contributions the Native Americans have made to our military for hundreds of years. The Native Americans have helped the military in numerous ways, from showing them how to build suitable shelter to helping with warfare."

Displays were set up educating individuals on how the helicopters used today by the U.S. Army received their names.

"Each helicopter the Army uses is named with a Native American tribe, chief, word, etc.," Sgt. 1st Class Mackie Slate, Fort Rucker Equal Opportunity adviser, said. "The names originated from Fort Sill, Okla., to honor the many tribes located in that area. We are proud to help bring awareness to the military of the importance the Native American culture has to us all."

The event also consisted of a powwow dance known as the "Flag Dance" and the "Veteran Dance," and entertainment was provided by the Choctaw Band of Mississippi.

"We get so busy in our own lives that sometimes we miss important information," Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander, said. "The Native Americans have not always been appreciated for all they have done. We all hope that over time that has changed and will continue to change.

"This event gives us an opportunity to focus on the Native American culture and what it has provided to us all," he added. "Around 200,000 Native Americans have served in or are serving in the United States military. During the Vietnam War, more than 42,000 Native Americans served in the war; and 90 percent of those people were volunteers -- not drafted. We are thankful for all the Native Americans have done for our military and we hope everyone enjoys this event."

Page last updated Fri November 9th, 2012 at 06:14