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2012 Feb

American Indian Warriors Association meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm.
Bayside Community Center

2202 Comstock St, San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 278-0771
Get directions

American Indian Warrior Association


American Indian Warriors Association Meeting April 4, 2012 called to order at 7:12pm by AIWA President William Buchanan. He and Roy Cook are in attendance with Joaquin S. on the road.

Roy C. brought in a 32 inch monitor with DVD player to view the San Diego State University Grand entry and the AIWA Honor Color guard bringing in the colors on March 17, 2012. Also a DVD copy of the Esther Abrahano tribute was viewed and the DVDs distributed to WB and JS.

William B. had the latest version of the new AIWA patch to view and an update on the status of the AIWA patch and cards.

Treasurer Joaquin S. gave a report of progress on the AIWA vests.

Juan Del Rio returned to AIWA and contributed information on VA loan refinancing and AD-UP Amikas housing for Women veterans.

All enjoyed the meat tacos with guacamole and salsa.

The Round Robin encourages veterans to bring out issues and emotions in a supportive environment that will further the healing process.

AIWA welcomes positive ideas for the month of May 2012.

Meeting adjourned at 8:22pm.
Respectfully submitted:
Roy Cook, AIWA Historian/secretary

"The nation that makes a great distinction between its warriors and its scholars will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools" -Thucydides

FYI: Stories to inspire action

Lori Ann Piestewa and her sacrifice:

She was a Hopi Indian and she, Piestewa, became the first Native American woman killed in combat in the history of the United States Armed Forces while serving in Operation “Enduring Freedom” in March 2003.

Piestewa, along with the 507th Maintenance Company, was driving north through the Iraqi desert when Iraqi insurgents ambushed her convoy. Bullets riddled the Humvee she was driving when she pulled up to the front of the line so an officer could confer with the unit’s captain. Knowing Piestewa would be ordered to return to where the ambush was, the captain’s driver offered to switch places with her. Piestewa responded that she was sticking with her mission. She headed toward the column’s rear and into the chaotic battle.

According to Jessica Lynch, Piestewa navigated through the gunfire and debris, circling around not once but twice, to help crippled vehicles before a rocket-propelled grenade hit Piestewa’s Humvee. The impact of the grenade forced the vehicle to swerve into a 5-ton tractor trailer . . . instantly killing three soldiers. Piestewa and Lynch, both injured badly but still alive, were taken to an Iraqi hospital. Piestewa died shortly thereafter.

A single mother, Piestewa left behind a 4-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. The youngest of four children herself, Piestewa was the third generation of her family to serve her country in the Armed Forces. Her father fought in Vietnam and her grandfather was a World War II veteran.

The literal translation of “Piestewa” in the Hopi language means “pool of still water.” As the adage goes, still waters run deep. In Piestewa’s case, they were waters full of sacrifice, devotion, and commitment to family, her tribe, and her country.

Statistically, Native Americans have a higher percentage of their population serving in the American military than any other group. More than 12,000 Native Americans served during WW I, though they weren’t official U.S. citizens at the time. More than 44,000 served in WW II, among them the Navajo Codetalkers whose contributions—providing the only code the Axis powers didn’t break—are well documented. More than 50,000 Native Americans served in Vietnam, 90% of them volunteers.

While the generations may change, many of the reasons Native people join the Armed Forces remain the same today—an opportunity to better themselves, see the world, and make a positive contribution to this country. Despite a prior shoulder injury, Piestewa answered the call and served her country in Iraq. Although political tides and public sentiment may render a war unpopular, they do not affect a soldier’s commitment to serve her country. We welcome our warriors home regardless of the politics of the war in which they fought.

The separation of political motivations behind a military conflict and the unwavering service of Native people is a dichotomy not unknown to the Native mind. Native people are in fact defenders of two sovereigns—their individual tribes and the United States of America, with proud service to both. Native thinking subscribes to a perspective that welcomes diversity and focuses on the collective good we all have to offer our communities . . . this country . . . and this world. Indeed, Native people can proudly serve two flags.

Powwow honors state’s veterans

Event follows yearly Flag Day parade in Appleton Saturday

By Kara Patterson
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — When Tim Beson of the Lac du Flambeau Bear Clan dances at a powwow, he’s telling his story to the beat of a drum that calls everyone together.

“It’s a way of honoring our warriors,” said Beson, arena director for the third annual Flag Day Powwow that will follow the 55th annual Appleton Flag Day Parade on Saturday.

“There’s a saying that goes, ‘Those who forget their veterans, they themselves will be forgotten.’ The veterans are our protectors and preservers of our way of life.”

The public is invited to celebrate the powwow at Roosevelt Middle School in Appleton. More than 400 dancers and veterans from 11 federally recognized tribes and the Brothertown Nation are expected to share in meals, ceremonies, songs and dances.

“In intertribal dances we welcome everyone into the circle,” said powwow chairwoman Lisa Hurst of the Oneida Turtle Clan. “You don’t have to be Native American or in regalia (dancer’s clothing), just have it in your heart that you want to dance. Everyone seems to be able to relate to the drum; Native Americans say it’s the heartbeat of Mother Earth.”

In preparation for an honor ceremony that will take place Saturday, Beson of Little Chute this week has been instructing Gerald Denny of Menasha how to bead eagle feathers at the American Indian Center of the Fox Valley in downtown Appleton.

For Denny, of the Oneida Turtle Clan, this year’s powwow holds special significance. He’s asked Beson, a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam combat veteran, to present a decorated golden eagle feather as a gift to his brother, Sgt. Jeffrey Denny of the U.S. Army’s 513th Transportation Company.

“There should be a veteran giving another veteran a feather,” Gerald Denny said, adding that his brother, now home from a third tour of duty in Iraq, is set to deploy again in January.

Added Henry Salazar, a member of the Menominee Nation who lives in Oshkosh, “Each one of those beads, as you go you pray. That’s part of the gift … good medicine.”

The camaraderie at the center leading up to the powwow is all part of ongoing tribal education: elders passing down traditions from one generation to the next.

“Even if you’re doing a real good job (beading) you’ll throw in a different color bead,” Beson explained to Gerald Denny during a bead-working session Thursday. “That’s because the only thing perfect in our world is the Creator. You always have to leave room for improvement.”

If an eagle feather falls from a dancer’s regalia during a powwow, Beson said, activity pauses and the crowd offers up prayers. Often, the dancer’s family will walk into the arena as a show of support.

“That means somewhere a veteran has walked on, passed away,” Beson said. “You’ll hear the emcee (at the powwow) tell all the dancers, ‘Make sure all your eagle feathers are tied down.’”

Although his movements have slowed, Beson said he dances until it’s often hard for him to walk during the week after a powwow.

“I have fun with it,” he said. “It’s a social gathering with spirituality in everything. When I dance, it’s my story to the same song someone else is using to tell a different story.”