WARREN, Mich. (November 20, 2012) -- The System of Systems Integration Directorate was the sponsoring organization for the 2012 National American Indian Heritage Month program held November 15 at the Detroit Arsenal. The theme for this year's observance was "Serving Our People, Serving Our Nations: Native Visions for Future Generations" and the guest speaker was Reg Pettibone, a full-blooded American Indian from the Ho-Chunk Nation located in Wisconsin.

Pettibone has a family background of Native American performers, from his grandmother and mother in a dance troupe at the first Chicago World's Fair, to his grandfathers and uncles performing through the years at the historic and famous tourist spot Standing Rock in the Wisconsin Dells. Growing up, he would accompany his grandfather to ceremonies and pow wows learning the traditional songs and dances. Later he would become a pow wow
champion dancer throughout the United States and Canada.

Mistress of Ceremonies Barbara Stallworth introduced Deanna Love, from the Robotic System Joint Project Office, who sang the National Anthem. U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) Chief Counsel K Krewer delivered the invocation then Col. Ronald J. Shun, TACOM LCMC Chief of Staff, introduced the guest speaker.

Pettybone shared a few words in the Ho-Chunk language, including the meaning of Ho-Chunk, which is "people of the big voice." He also described and, with the help of his family, demonstrated several of the dances that are an important part of his people's culture. He spoke in some detail about their spiritual beliefs and the role that the dances play in their expression of those beliefs. He also pointed out how some of the stereotyped images of American Indians as portrayed by the media, and especially television, are not a true reflection of who his people are.

National American Indian Heritage Month was first recognized through joint resolution by Congress in 1990, after nearly a century of advocacy. On August 3 of that year, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Now recognized annually, November is a time to learn more about the history and heritage of Native American people.