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Native American, Alaska Natives in Singapore Celebrate Heritage


Service members stationed in Singapore celebrated National American Indian Heritage Month at the Singapore area coordinator’s Cafe Lah Community Center here Nov. 16.

More than a dozen service members attended the hour-long event that highlighted the achievements and contributions of Native Americans and Native Alaskans to the United States and to the American military experience.

For Navy Chief Petty Officer Kadia Griffin, who chairs the Diversity and Heritage Committee Chairperson for the Singapore area coordinator, the event was also a way to celebrate diversity as a whole.

“It’s important for everyone to see the contributions that other people have done for the country,” Griffin said. “Diversity brings a lot to the table and enables us to gain different perspectives in doing things, and it’s really good to embrace the different nationalities and cultures that our military community has.”

Throughout the presentation, sailors and soldiers gave short presentations on American Indian and Alaska Native contributions, including announcing Public Law 101-343 in November 1990, in which the 101st Congress designated November as National American Indian Heritage Month.

Military Contributions

The service members then discussed military contributions from some Native Americans who earned the Medal of Honor. One of the veterans highlighted was Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., a Winnebago Indian from Wisconsin, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Korean War. The Navajo Code Talkers also were highlighted as playing an intrinsic part of the Allied victory in World War II.

In addition to these military contributions, attendees learned about the various Native American tribes that are spread across North America. A list of Native American inventions also was presented. Among other things, attendees learned that early Andean Amerindian peoples had freeze-dried potatoes and other food items to be transported over long distances. Other inventions highlighted included pest control techniques, oral contraceptives, lacrosse and certain anesthetics.