Each year the Department of Defense sets aside November as Native American Indian Heritage Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions American Indians and Alaska Natives have made not only to the Army, but the nation.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center is host of this year’s Team Redstone observance, featuring guest speaker Paul Matheny. His presentation will be released virtually Nov. 17.
“Each year the president of the United States issues a proclamation in recognition of this observance,” Chanley Pickard, CCDC AvMC Equal Employment Opportunity manager, said. “The observance month recognizes American Indians for their respect for natural resources and the Earth, having served with valor in our nation’s conflicts, and for their many distinct and important contributions to the United States of America. This year’s theme is, ‘Honoring the past, securing the future! Many Nations, One Fight.’”
Matheny is one of more than 150,000 veterans who are of American Indian or Alaska Native descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, more than 9,000 Soldiers of American Indian or Alaska Native descent serve in the Army.
“More American Indians, as a percentage of any other ethnic group, have served in the United States military,” said Matheny, who served in the Navy for 24 years. “It’s the warrior ethos.”
Matheny’s great-great-great-grandfather, James Campbell, was Cherokee and walked on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. He and his wife, Victoria, are members of the Alabama chapter of the Trail of Tears Association.
“We have to understand history,” said Matheny, who gives presentations at Rotary clubs, high schools and other organizations throughout the South.
The observance presentation will be available at www.facebook.com/CCDC.AvMC beginning Nov. 17.
The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.