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Wing observes Native American Heritage Month

Oct. 26, 2006 -- This year's monthly observance of Native-American Heritage features a trip to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and an open fair, according to the heritage committee chair.
"The Native-American Heritage Committee has been working hard to create interesting events for this year's observance," said Master Sgt. Ramona Davis, committee chairwoman. "Everyone is looking forward to the trip to the Smithsonian's newest museum. What a great resource to use to learn more about Native Americans."
The Smithsonian trip is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 and is open to all military ID card holders, civilian employees and family members, explained Sergeant Davis. Buses leave from the Technology Center parking lot at 9 a.m. Uniform of the day for Air Force members is blues with tie or tab, and any uniform combination with tie or tab for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen who plan on attending, according to Sergeant Davis.
This year's theme is "A Warrior's Tradition - Contributing to Our Nation's Freedom." According to Master Sgt. Vincent Loran, the 11th Wing Military Equal Opportunity superintendent, heritage month's play an important role.
"Observances recognize the achievements of all Americans to American culture," he said. "They also increase awareness, mutual respect and understanding." He added all observances encourage interaction between cultures and not simply recognition of one culture.
In addition to the Smithsonian trip the committee is also planning on having a Native American Cultural Celebration from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 14 in Bolling's Edward G. White Community Center ballroom. The celebration features a guest speaker, a Native American flutist, displays and Native American food.
Scheduled guest speaker is Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Helena Carapellatti, who has created a display titled "Contributions Native Americans Made in the Military." The chief said her research was personally enlightening.
"I didn't realize there were 16 Native American Medal of Honor recipients and that a total of 17 Native American languages were used as code," said the chief about her display.
"I also learned that the Alaskan Natives were specifically recruited to patrol the vast Arctic tundra and coastline during World War II and a bill was finally passed in late 1990s to recognize them as veterans," she said. In addition to appearing at the open fair, Chief Carapellatti's display will appear the entire month at the Technology Center, Bldg. 52.
During her talk, Chief Carapellati wants to enlighten people about Navajo philosophy and "dash some stereotypical views people have about Native Americans."
The month's activities also include a chance for Bolling youth to win one of two dreamcatchers, according Master Sgt. Jeanna M. Stansbury, 11th Services Division. The NAH committee hosts a reading and drawing activity at the Before- and After-School Programs at the youth center at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 9. Committee members will read culturally appropriate stories to youth in the 7-9 and 10-12 age groups, explained Sergeant Stansbury. Afterwards, the youth will draw pictures based on the story. NAH committee members will judge the drawings Nov. 15 and award the dreamcatchers.
According to Wikipedia.com, a dreamcatcher comes from the Ojibwa culture. It's a hoop with a loose net that hangs above a bed. The dreamcatcher captures good dreams and allows evil dreams to escape through the web, the article added.