By Thea Skinner, Fort Carson MountaineerNovember 19, 2008
FORT CARSON, Colo. - The strength of native warriors and Soldiers emanated at the Elkhorn Conference Center Nov. 17 during a recognition of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Two Feathers, guest speaker, served more than 14 years at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C. and became a 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 4th Marine Division gunnery sergeant.
His three-fold tribal background includes the Jicarilla Apache, Apache and Nez Perce nations from the clan of Muddy Water and Standing Rock. He explained the story of a boy who chased a strong warrior in his dreams.
The boy asked a village elder who the warrior is. The elder explained to the boy that the warrior is himself as an adult man. The boy was chasing the strong man that he was destined to become. After years of experiencing the dream, the warrior did not appear and the boy became a man.
According to the Vietnam Veterans of America, "American Indians have served in every war fought by the United States of America. During World War I approximately 12,000 served with the American Expeditionary Force. In World War II over 21,000 fought against the Axis forces."
Two Feathers mentioned that the assistance of local tribes and people native to a nation have historically helped fight wars.
"I believe that we are nations of people that live together - that cohabitate. We need one another," he said. "I am not as mean, I am not as lean, but I am proud to be an American."
He explained that survival of humanity occurs when nations partner together.
"We are an intricate nation of people. Whether you like it or not, I am your brother. You are my relative. All things identical will live," he said. "If you are two-legged people, you are my relative. I don't care what color you are. It matters not to me, you are my brother, my sister - you're my relative."
Two Feathers discussed his affinity and camaraderie for military, especially Special Forces.
"We all do the same thing in a different time. We just rotate out," he said. "What I did in the '60s you are doing today. In 20 years from now, your children will do the same thing. You serve with pride.
"I wish you all a good life and I pray for all that are going over to Iraq or Afghanistan to learn what your commands are and to take advantage of the soft times that you are going to have, because the hard times are going to be there, too," he said. "I hope that you will stretch your branches out and touch people in a good way - that you will be safe."
Col. Shannon B. Davis, deputy commander and chief of staff, Fort Carson, said that he was moved by Two Feather's comments and wisdom.
"We are a team of teams. We all come from the same cloth - we all have something in common," he said. "The Native Americans, of course, from all walks of life to where we live now, have become our partners and part of our roots."