CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – The beat of a drum sounded as Native American Indians stood tall, saluting the American flag during a National American Indian Heritage Observance on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Nov. 26.
Hosted by the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, the observance aimed at honoring the 48 “Warhorse” soldiers with an American Indian background.
“We wanted to pay homage to Native American Indians and their culture by putting on an observance that was enriched in the culture and traditions,” said Sgt. 1st. Class Harry Deboise Jr., brigade equal opportunity advisor, 2nd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div.
With 566 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes, and more than 100 state recognized tribes, the Brigade wanted to show thanks to Native Americans from all over.
“No matter what background you come from, whether it’s Native American or Alaskan American, we want you to feel that you matter and that you made some kind of contribution or self sacrifice,” said Deboise.
With a history full of significant events, it was a time to look back and remember.
“Rich customs and traditions have ensured the preservation of their people in society,” said Warrant Officer Shane Chisholm, target acquisition platoon leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd ABCT.
Chisholm also spoke about how the “Ivy” Division leads the way in support of Native Americans.
“Fort Carson is very fortunate to have a religious facility located on post for Native American soldiers and their families to practice their faith,” said Chisholm.
“I trust that in time, other military installations will follow Fort Carson and the 4th ID’s example with similar facilities for Native Americans.”
Guest speaker and a member of the Navajo Tribe, Staff Sgt. Lamsteen Morris, combat engineer, Company C, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd ABCT, relished the turn out for the event.
“It was great to get up here and see so many Soldiers of different ranks, said Morris. “I always envisioned something like this and representing Native Americans across the country.”
Morris who serves with his wife, Sgt. Tonietta Morris, signal system support specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd STB, knows he is lucky to be close to his wife, in both traditions and work.
“I think it all comes together and really makes us a better couple,” said Morris. “We understand each other; where we come from, who we are and who we can be.”
As representatives of their people, Morris and Chisholm both take on the task of carrying on long-standing traditions.
“As an American Indian, I feel responsible to be a steward for my people,” said Chisholm. “It is my job to uphold the warrior traditions and customs of fighting for my family, people, culture and protecting the lands. As a soldier, I am also a part of a warrior society, and my job as a soldier mirrors those as an American Indian.”
In the future, the Warhorse Brigade equal opportunity team plans to observe a different culture each month.
“Beginning in January, we will try to capture every ethnic group so everyone will have their special observance and feel a part of something,” said Deboise.