TAMC pays tribute, honors Native American service members

| November 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

Stephanie Bryant
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs



HONOLULU — Tripler Army Medical Center recognized National American Indian Heritage Month in the Kyser Auditorium, here, Nov. 16.

The observance featured a hoop dancer, American Indian poetry, a video about “What it means to be Native American” and a guest speaker.

“I am here to share my perspective on Native American Heritage Month and the ideals that we all share in common: service, honor and respect,” said guest speaker Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor, Chickasaw Nation; and president, National Congress of American Indians.

“(Native Americans) have this inherent feeling about protecting our lands, and so we serve in the military at a higher ratio per capita than any other race in this country,” he said. “Since 2001, more than 60 American Indians have died in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 500 have been wounded.”

Keel talked about cultural survival and hope as it pertains to Native Americans. He also explained the purpose and history of the National Congress of American Indians, established in 1944.

He said the native culture has survived because of its core values.

“Service to one’s country is the equalizing force in this great nation of ours,” Keel said. “There is no greater duty. We all believe in protecting the great opportunities that are afforded to all of us as citizens of the U.S. As a native people, we enjoy a dual citizenship. Many of our cultures are close knit. We all seek a more perfect union, and we wake up every day to honor and protect that.”

Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commander, Pacific Regional Medical Command and TAMC, gave closing remarks for event. He thanked Keel and the other contributors for their participation in the event.

“We are all Americans,” Gallagher said. “We all come from different ethnic groups and backgrounds, yet we come together as service members with a common bond, mission and focus. Service, honor and respect are three great words that are embedded in our Army values.”

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Category: News, Observances

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