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    18th MEDCOM (DS) hosts Oahu Intertribal Council for National American Indian Heritage Observance

    18th MEDCOM (DS) hosts Oahu Intertribal Council for National American Indian Heritage Observance

    Photo By Spc. Bryan Faison | Malia Mahi, a Taino from Puerto Rico, performs the traditional jingle dress dance at...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Bryan Faison 

    18th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

    HONOLULU, Hawaii – In observance of National American Indian Heritage Month, 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) welcomed members of the Oahu Intertribal Council to a powwow on Friday, Nov. 13, at the 9th Mission Support Center’s assembly hall on Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

    A “pow wow” is defined as a gathering of Native Americans, where members of varying nations meet to communicate and preserve native customs through song, dance and traditional activities.

    The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama proclaimed, as his predecessors have since President George H.W. Bush, the month of November, National Native American Heritage Month.

    Sgt. Jennifer Bach, the motor sergeant for 18th MEDCOM and a descendent of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, read the presidential proclamation to the crowd which stated that, “This month, we recognize the contributions made by Native Americans since long before our founding, and we resolve to continue the work of strengthening government-to-government ties with tribal nations and expanding possibility for all.”

    The Oahu Intertribal Council is a non-profit organization, incorporated in Honolulu on July 29th, 2013 for the sole purpose of charity and education. Its brief history can be traced back to the early 1970’s when a small group of Native American women recognized the need for a gathering place where Native American military servicemen stationed on Oahu could come together and connect to their native heritage.

    Keynote speaker, Loa Simoes, of the Sac and Fox Bear Clan and President of the Oahu Intertribal Council, is herself a proud mother to a U.S. Air Force Airman.

    After an introduction from Bach, Ms. Simoes helped educate the audience on efforts to preserve native pride and spirit.

    Simoes said, “The spirit of native people is a way of life, as we believe all things are infused with spirit...It is our spirit, perseverance and determination that keeps us together and united in all things.”

    With an ever-changing political climate and constant challenges to treaty obligations through judicial litigation, the pride and spirit of America’s native people has been tested and continues to evolve through native activists, says Simoes.

    “Our young people take their new found voice in music, art, dance and social media to identify and connect with their ancestral roots and allow it to showcase their talents and beliefs about a better tomorrow”, said Simoes.

    The powwow highlighted local talent and connected attendees to the native spirit that resides on the island of Oahu.

    To further foster that connection, members of the council invited attendees to participate in a traditional round dance, where everyone interlocks hands and shuffles to the left while bending at the knee, in a circle, in rhythm with the beat of the drum.

    The dance symbolizes the equality of all in the circle while fostering community and renewing relationships. It is a celebration of Native American customs and identity.

    After thanking the Oahu Intertribal Council for participating in this year’s observance, Col. Ann Sammartino, commander, 18th MEDCOM (DS) said, “I’m definitely looking forward to next year's pow wow.”



    Date Taken: 11.13.2015
    Date Posted: 11.19.2015 15:47
    Story ID: 182385
    Location: HONOLULU, HI, US 
    Hometown: HONOLULU, HI, US

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