News: Naval Station Norfolk Celebrates Native American Heritage
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Coleman Thompson,
Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic
NORFOLK, Va. – A celebration honoring Native American heritage was held Nov. 25 on Naval Station Norfolk.
Given the theme "Living in Many Worlds," the event sought to draw attention to the Native American Indian's contribution to America, as well as take a closer look at their unique culture.
"We talked about all types of Indians, from the Inuit's in Alaska to the Incans down in Peru," said Chief Operations Specialist Gilbert Hicks, Native American heritage event coordinator. "Usually when we think of Indians we only think of North America, when in fact their ancestry extends down to South America."
The event also highlighted the culture of the Eastern Woodland tribes who, while often overlooked, played pivotal roles in the shaping of this nation.
"They were our first source for finding food, our first doctors, the foundation of what our government was actually founded upon was Native American Indian tribes, not European influence," said Hicks. "These types of things are not common knowledge, and that's what we're trying to get across."
During the event there was a performance by four local tribe chiefs, in which they demonstrated customary Indian dances and ceremonies.
"It's 2008, and we still have people who don't realize who Indian people are," said Chief Thomas "Two Feathers" Lewis, a retired Army specialist 1st Class. "They see the Hollywood stereotype of the Plains Indian, and that's not who we are," continued Lewis. "We don't walk around in the leather and feathers regalia that most people associate with Indians. We walk around in normal street clothes, and we are present everywhere in modern society."