Native American Indian heritage contributes to warrior ethos, tasks

| November 11, 2010 | 0 Comments

Pfc. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans have served in the armed forces from the early days of the Revolutionary War to today. 

The many cultures that make up the Native American landscape have helped shaped our nation’s history, from the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock to using the Native American language as a weapon in World War I and II. 

Native Americans have shaped an identity for themselves and the nation. 

Locally, Cpl. Hershel Bedonie, 39th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th TSC, has helped etch out his identity inside the U.S. Army.

At times, growing up on a Navajo reservation in Arizona wasn’t easy for Bedonie and his family. With no running water and no vehicle, Bedonie understood nothing is free.

In 2005, he enlisted into the Army to pay his own way into college. Though he was leaving one hardship for another — basic training — the 

transition was something his heritage taught him to cherish.

“Never let the sun catch you while you’re asleep,” Bedonie said. “In Navajo culture, you greet the sun every morning and see it off every night. While others were having trouble waking up and running before the sun came up, it was like being back home for me.”

Now the supply noncommissioned officer for the 39th MP Det., Bedonie runs his shop with the warrior spirit of his ancestors and instills a sense of resolve and pride on the Soldiers under his command.

“I teach my Soldiers (to) run a shop like it’s (theirs),” Bedonie said. 

For Bedonie, Soldiers with Native American heritage need to follow in the footsteps of their warrior ancestors’ spirit and military ethos.

“The pride of knowing my language was a weapon, as much as bombs were, instills a sense of pride in my heritage,” Bedonie said. “Native American Soldiers need to understand their ancestors taught them to think on their own two feet, be a warrior, lead by example and share knowledge with those around you.”

Army honors American Indian Heritage Month

President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, Aug. 3, 1990. The bill read that “the president has authorized and requested to call upon federal, state and local governments, groups and organizations and the people of the U.S., to observe such month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.” 

Since then, presidents have reiterated that proclamation each year.

“Since the birth of America, (American Indians and Alaska natives) have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders in all aspects of our society,” said President Barack Obama, recently. “Native Americans have also served in the U.S. armed forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our nation with their lives.” 

American Indians and Alaska natives have served in conflicts from the Civil War to today’s current conflicts, and they have made lasting contributions to wartime efforts. 

(Editor’s Note: Information was compiled from the Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs.)

Category: News, Observances

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *