JBM-HH celebrates heritage
November 9, 2012
By Rhonda Apple
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. (Nov. 9, 2012) -- Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall celebrated National Native American Heritage Month Nov. 7, in a ceremony at the joint base community center, Bldg. 405. About 100 people, including MDW and joint base command leadership, active duty personnel, Family members and federal civilian employees attended the event, sponsored by the JBM-HH Equal Opportunity Office.
The theme for this year's observance is "Serving our People, Serving our Nations: Native Visions for Future Generations."
"National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the culture, contributions and heritage of Native Americans, while recognizing the accomplishments of the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of our great nation," said JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter. "Since the birth of America, Native Americans have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders in all aspects of our society.
"They have served in the United States Armed Forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our nation with their lives. Nearly 20,000 people classified as Native Americans are serving in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force," she said.
"Today, Native Americans are leaders in every aspect of our society -- from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the battlefield," wrote President Barack Obama in the presidential proclamation commemorating November as National Native American Heritage Month. Native American Heritage Day is observed in the U.S. on Nov. 23. "This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe's dream," the president said.
Entertainment for the event was provided by the Piscataway Indian Nation singers and dancers, from Tayac territory near Port Tobacco, Md. The group's leader, Mark Tayac, shared interesting stories about Native American culture, providing humor, facts and anecdotes. The men, dressed in colorful costumes, captivated the audience, including Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commander Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and U.S. Military District of Washington, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, JMB-HH Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Jennifer L. Blair and JBM-HH Command Sgt. Maj. Earlene Y. Lavender.
The Piscataway troupe's dance performances included a grand entry, a war dance [popular in the Native American sport of stickball], men's grass dance, hoop dance and closing dance. Members of the audience were selected to participate in ceremonial dancing.
Following the performance, Sumpter provided the group with commander's coins and a plaque in appreciation for their performance on behalf of Linnington and JFHQ-NCR/MDW and JBM-HH command groups.
Guests enjoyed a Native American-inspired ethnic food sampling and displays, including information, photographs, art and memorabilia from Native American heritage.
The program was coordinated by the JBM-HH Equal Opportunity Office. Master of ceremonies, who also sang the national anthem, was Master Sgt. Antonio Giuliano, a member of The U.S. Army Chorus. The invocation was provided by Chap. (Lt. Col.) Clyde Scott, JBM-HH installation chaplain.