Native veterans across the country are being honored as the U.S. observes Veterans Day.
Recently in Alaska, a group of Indigenous women were recognized for their military service during the opening ceremony at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage.
Emily Schwing has more.
For more than a decade, Alaska Native veteran Benno Cleveland has led a color guard procession at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this year, he did something a little different.
“Today you see the veterans in front of you and if you notice when we marched in, we had our women veterans up front… because when they talk about our native veterans, most people, they think about the men.”
Following the presentation of colors, five Alaska Native and American Indian women were met with a standing ovation as they exited the convention hall.
Juanita Mullen is from the Seneca Nation in New York State. She just retired as the American Indian and Alaska Native veterans liaison for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to a 2020 report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, only 11% of American Indian and Alaska Native veterans are women.
“They just started letting females in the battalion – in the Navy when I joined.”
That’s Flossie Davenport. She grew up in Nome. She served as a Seabee (Construction Battalion) in the Navy from 1998-2003. She said she never thought about being a woman in service until she started to notice some of her superiors started to treat her differently.
“I still had a bunch of salty dogs around me. And they were always like let me lift this, let me do that.”
Cleveland said he asked all of the veterans who came to present colors at AFN if they’d be willing to honor the women. He says not a single man was opposed to supporting the women who served along side them.
In Washington, D.C., Native veterans will be honored Friday at the National Museum of the American Indian.
They’ll be recognized for their military service during a formal dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which is located outside the museum.
A Native veterans procession and the dedication ceremony will take place as part of a three-day celebration.
Events feature films, performances and a veterans hospitality suite.
More than one thousand veterans are expected to take part in the procession along the National Mall from the museum to a ceremony stage in front of the U.S. Capitol.
The museum will livestream the procession and dedication starting at 2 p.m. EST.
The U.S. House Committee on Rules is holding a hearing next week on legal and procedural factors to seating a Cherokee Nation delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is calling on Congress to honor the commitment made in the 1800s to seat a non-voting delegate from the Cherokee Nation in the House.
The government and the Cherokee Nation reached an agreement through a treaty nearly 200 years ago.
The Senate ratified it and President Andrew Jackson signed it into law.
The Cherokee Nation says the longstanding agreement does not expire and what’s needed now is for the House to seat the delegate.
“Our first mission is to get seated this year, that is our ultimate goal.”
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. nominated Teehee in 2019.
Teehee has served as the tribe’s vice president of government relations and was a senior policy advisor for Native American affairs during the Obama administration.
She has served in multiple leadership positions on Capitol Hill, including the bipartisan Native American Caucus in the House, and in the Cherokee community.
The hearing is scheduled to take place Wednesday morning.
Tune in to National Native News next week to hear more from Teehee about the importance of having a Cherokee Nation delegate and her plans for the position.
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