FORT RUCKER, Ala. (October 27, 2011) -- Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Fort Rucker Equal Opportunity Office are partnering with members of the MaChis Lower Creek, Dakota, Cherokee and members of other local tribes to showcase Native American culture at the Native American History Month kickoff Nov. 4-5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the post exchange.

"Our culture is so influenced by Native Americans. History shows us that we were not very kind to them, but our ancestors would have never survived without their help. We are certainly in their debt," said Sgt. 1st Class David Cofer, Fort Rucker Equal Opportunity tenant activity EO adviser.

There will be several displays of regalia and historical information, along with vendors of Native American made items. Children will be able to participate in the "Candy Dance" and arts and crafts projects based on Native American culture.

One addition to this year's events will be that visitors on Nov. 4 will be able to sample authentic Native American foods, said Susie Antonello, visual merchandise manager for AAFES, who also described last year's kickoff as a "spiritually uplifting event."

One popular event from last year is the traditional dancing and drum circle, something both Cofer and Antonello anticipated for this year's events as well.

Antonello said that AAFES and EO want to encourage people to learn and appreciate Native American culture and have a little fun.

"The event provides an authentic learning experience of the Native American culture, with traditional dance, music, foods and exhibits. We will also honor the contributions of Native Americans to the U.S. military," she said.

In addition to the on-post kickoff events, Antonello noted two other Native American History Month events in the area, the Fifth Annual Honor of Armed Forces Pow Wow in Dalevillle Nov. 11-13 and Dothan's Native American Festival at the Dothan Civic Center Nov. 19.

"It is important to celebrate the heritage, history, art and traditions of those who shaped the history of our country. Native Americans throughout history fought for their country. They continue to serve their country with courage and honor," said Antonello.

For more information, call (334) 806-7576.