Mesa College Warrior Symposium

By Roy Cook

The Warrior Symposium event was Friday at Mesa College, November 3, 2006. Many, in attendance, felt we accomplished our goal of this event to recognize the Mesa College American Indian Warriors academic achievement and honorable military service to defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

On behalf of the American Indian Warriors Association, AIWA, we thank the Mesa College President Rita Cepeda Ed. and the organizing committee for their support and the opportunity to share an insight into the American Indian Warrior tradition and tribal culture. There are over 200,00 Native American military veterans today. It is well documented that historically Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups.

More than 12,000 Native Americans served during World War I, though they weren't official U.S. citizens.
More than 44,500 served in World War II, a greater per-capita rate than any other ethnic group.
More than 50,000 served in Vietnam, 90 percent of them as volunteers.
Native Americans serving as of April 1, 2003, Source: Immigration Policy Center and U.S. Defense Department

Army - 2,985 Eskimo - 98 Aleut - 79 = 3,162
Navy - 7,068 Eskimo - 116 Aleut - 199 = 7,383
USMC - 1,111 Eskimo - 30 Aleut - 31 = 1,172
USAF - 1,696 Eskimo - 30 Aleut - 22 = 1,748
US/Canadian Indians total = 12,860, plus
Eskimo - 274 & Aleut - 291 Total = 13, 425
Grand Total All Serving = 1,401,128

The reasons behind this amazing contribution are complex and deeply rooted in traditional American Indian culture. In many respects, Native Americans are no different from others who volunteer for military service. They do, however, have distinctive cultural values that drive them to serve their country. One such value is the warrior tradition. In part, the warrior tradition is a willingness to engage the enemy in battle. This characteristic has been clearly demonstrated by the courageous deeds of Native Americans in combat. However, the warrior tradition is best exemplified by the following qualities inherent to most Native American societies: courage, respect, generosity and wisdom.

The Warriors Symposium speakers: Karen Shonfeld-Smith, Veterans Center and Scott Langhoff, United Veterans Council of San Diego presented timely and well-focused information beneficial to Veterans and their families. We, at AIWA, look forward to the next opportunity to share points of view, music, and song and dance.

Finally, we appreciate the opportunity to share our AIWA mission statement: Help foster and encourage the improvement of the circumstances of the American Indian veteran and their family.
Promote a whole and healthy American Indian veteran community.
Produce and disseminate information and materials to benefit the American Indian veteran and the community in which they live.
Advocate for the identified needs of American Indian veterans at local, state and federal levels.
Gather, analyze and distribute data on American Indian veterans to assist in
their continued emotional and physical well being.
Participate in cultural events that contribute to the advancement of American
Indian heritage.
Assist disabled and needy veterans including but not limited to, American
Indian veterans and their dependents, widows and orphans.

For all our relations.

Roy Cook
AIWA President