By Wendy ArevaloNovember 18, 2019
FORT KNOX -- Traditional Native American dancing, singing, flute-playing and drums were just a few of the things on display at the Fort Knox National American Indian Heritage Month Observance at the Saber and Quill Nov. 15, 2019.
1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) hosted the event, in observance of November being National American Indian Heritage Month. The observance honors the contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since the Revolutionary War, Native American and Alaskan Natives have played a vital role in our country's freedom and security.
The presentation included performances by Red Road Awareness, a Radcliff-based organization which shares indigenous culture and history with area youth.
Performers came from a variety of tribes, according to Chief Matthew Black Eagle Man, founder of Red Road Awareness.
Black Eagle Man, who served as the guest speaker for the event, hails from First Nation Indian reserve in Manitoba, Canada. He said his name, Chief Matthew Black Eagle Man, was passed down from his grandfather.
After the performances, Black Eagle Man talked about how sharing their culture, through dancing and singing, brings us all closer together.
"We've all joined together today in this place; the circles of your world and the circles of our world become stronger in recognizing each other and respecting each other," Black Eagle Man added.
Some of the performers shared stories about themselves and the music or dance they were performing.
Drum player and singer Aric McKeown explained the importance of singing and dancing to indigenous people.
"The reason dancing and singing is so important to our culture is it gives a person a sense of who they are to their tribe or to the community; so if you have a men's traditional dancer or a grass dancer, that gives us a sense of pride and that's important to our elders," McKeown said. "It gives you a place with your people, a sense of who you are."
Before closing, Black Eagle Man shared his thoughts on the Army's value of selfless service and thanked the military for their service to the nation.
"So many times as we grow into our culture, we are told that we don't concern ourselves with ourselves, to not have a selfish nature, when we think about what it takes to not have a selfish nature, I apply that to the military people who serve with an unselfish nature."
Col. Rodney Honeycutt, chief of staff, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, who served as the host of the event, thanked Black Eagle Man for his support and message.
"We're very appreciative of Matthew Black Eagle Man and his team sharing the diversity of our culture and reminding us not to concern yourself with yourself."