The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support marked National Native American Heritage Month with a guest speaker during a virtual event held 19 November in Philadelphia.
“Events like today allow us to appreciate different perspectives, backgrounds and talents. Recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion and appreciating other points of view, ultimately results in a stronger workplace,” said Robert Ratner, DLA Troop Support Chief of Staff.
Native American Heritage Month began as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the U.S., according to the National American Indian Heritage Month website. The movement gained momentum in 1915 when a number of states marked day of observance. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first American Indian Week, then in 1990, President George H.W. Bush designated November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Ratner introduced guest speaker Johnson Taylor the Piscataway Nation, who performed several traditional tribal dances.
“This month is Native American Heritage month,” Taylor said before performing a dance that honored Native American veterans. “Last week we honored our veterans. Many songs are composed across Native American County for our warriors. Many tribes honor their warriors that went and fought for this land, this country. Many warriors paid the supreme sacrifice and never came home.”
The regalia he and several others wore while performing resemble what their tribal ancestors wore and serve the same purpose, he said.
“Today, we still have our ceremonies,” Taylor said about the traditions that are passed down to each generation. “Today, we still dance in this arena, around this big drum. These teachings we have, all the dances…we think of other people when they are sick and they’re not feeling too good.”