Story and photos by Julie M. Lucas
Native Americans and Alaskan natives were honored in a monthly celebration by the Army Equal Opportunity program.
Without their help, the settlers to this country would have likely perished their first year here, said Tech. Sgt. Theresea Cocozziello, U.S. Air Force Academy and Cherokee Nov. 23 at the Elkhorn Conference Center.
The guest speaker for the event, Eugene Redhawk, an Army retiree and a member of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Tribe, Iroquois Nation, spoke about the history of the Iroquois and how Native Americans got their names.
Many Native Americans received different names as they left the reservation, some of them from Indian agents or census takers. Redhawk’s name was chosen after a dream fast, 10 days in the woods with no food, and on the last day a feather fell from a redtail hawk to his shelter. After consulting with the elders, he received his name and still has that feather in his headdress today.
The Iroquois Nation is made up of five tribes that were combined with the help of Hiawatha, the famous Native American. He broke an arrow in half showing that a single arrow wasn’t that strong. After trying to break five bundled arrows and demonstrating the strength, it was decided to combine the tribes.
Native Americans at one time had their own newspapers, school books and government, which our government today is modeled after.
“If our way was truly copied exactly, women would have always been able to vote and there would have been no slavery,” Redhawk said.
The audience was entertained by Allen Mose Jr., and his son, Orian Jay, as they performed traditional powwow songs. The Seven Falls Dance Troupe performed three traditional dances for the crowd.
After the program, the audience partook in food sampling.