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National American Indian Heritage Month - A Warrior Heart and a Call to Service

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My name is Sharolyn Claus and I am a member of the Kiowa Tribe from the Tsoodle family and Mohawk Nation from the turtle clan. In our culture this is how I would identify myself to another American Indian so if there is a familial connection you can identify through tribe, clan and family. There are 573 federally recognized tribes in the United States, some with similarities based on region, but each with unique customs, language, crafts, food, dress, etc.

As with many, family is the heart of our culture. Many of our customs and heritage are passed down through oral tradition. One way to ensure this is through our many tribal and family gatherings.  As is our tradition (Southern Plains tribes), on many of these occasions we still camp with teepees, put up arbors, and cook outdoors.

One of these occasions is the many gatherings we have when our tribal members leave or return from military deployment. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, American Indians serve in the U.S. military in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group, and they have served with distinction in every major conflict for over 200 years. Not only is this month National American Indian Heritage Month, it also is the opening of the National Native American Veterans Memorial which will serve as a reminder of the service and sacrifice of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian veterans. Maybe it’s our warrior tradition that encourages so many to serve in the U.S. military.

I’m proud to be of service through DCAA to our warriors, the Warfighter. I work for DCAA’s Arizona Branch Office, Arizona Mobile team. Kee-Own-Day…It is a good day.