By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (IMCOM)December 9, 2013
ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 9, 2013) -- U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach celebrated November as Native American History Month Nov. 25 at the Katterbach Dining Facility. The event included remarks by Col. Christopher M. Benson, USAG Ansbach commander, poetry readings by Soldiers, the reading of the presidential proclamation and a cake-cutting.
"I'd like to encourage each of us to renew our commitment to respecting each tribe's identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream," said Benson during his remarks.
Benson, both through biological ties and experience, has familiarity with the Native American heritage.
"I myself have a little Cherokee Indian blood in me," said Benson. "I've also lived in Alaska, so I'm intimately familiar with Alaskan native culture as well as the challenges they've endured over the years and continue to endure."
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Forsythe, the garrison equal employment opportunity adviser for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, USAG Ansbach, helped organize the event.
"It's importance to recognize the contributions they have made not only to our nation but to our military as well," said Forsythe.
Benson in his remarks made clear why Native Americans deserved full recognition by the military.
"Historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita than any other ethnic group in America," said Benson during his remarks. "That's amazing. And despite the injustices of the past, there have been nearly 190,000 Native American military veterans that have served to protect this land and this country. Some of them will never be named or honored. The commitment of the American Indian and the Alaskan Natives to protect our homeland is undeniable."
Cheryl Bahe, a USAG Ansbach community member and member of the Laguna Pueblo, N.M., a federally recognized Native American tribe, attended the event with her children and brought a clay pot as an artifact of Native American culture.
To learn more about Native American heritage or history, visit www.army.mil/americanindians/ or http://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov.