Honoring Tulalip Veterans (Photo Diary)

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As with other American Indian nations, people from the Tulalip tribes in western Washington–Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and others-have served in the American military during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One room in the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve honors the Tulalip veterans and tells many of their stories.  

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The drum shown above belongs to Raymond Moses who served in the Army during the Korean War from 1950-53. The drum depicts images of his guardian spirits; grizzly bears from his father’s side and wolf from his mother’s side. He had visions of his guardian spirits right before he stepped on a grenade that fortunately did not detonate.

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While in the past, Indian veterans were denied the use of their traditional religions in dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, today this is not the case.

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Suquamish Veterans Memorial (Photo Diary)

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While the United States government has generally been less than honorable in its dealings with Indian nations and with Indian people, during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries Indian people have shown great loyalty and patriotism by serving in the U.S. military. As a result of their service in World War I, all Indian veterans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1919 and all Indians were given citizenship in 1924. Indians were given citizenship again in 1940 to make sure that they would be eligible for the draft.  

Shown below are some photographs of the Suquamish Veterans Memorial.

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A few hundred meters up the hill from the memorial is the cemetery where Chief Seattle was buried. The American flags dotted the burial grounds mark the graves of Indian veterans.

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A Navajo Veteran’s Day Appreciation Event w/ Photos

I spent last weekend visiting my family on the Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona to attend their 3rd annual Veteran’s Day Appreciation Event at Inscription House where my mother was born. My family honors the local veterans and families of fallen soldiers with a flag ceremony, luncheon and gift baskets. The whole family gathered early to cook a feast, reservation style while enjoying a snow storm, hail storm and then beautiful sunny skies.

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The last two years our Code Talker Bahe Ketchum from Navajo Mountain attended but this year he was still in NYC attending the festivities there.  I was very disappointed to miss meeting him.

Below I have several (70+ hi res) photos of the event to give you a little taste of what celebrating is like on the Navajo Rez.

As the 20th century comes to a close, there are nearly 190,00 Native American military veterans. It is well recognized that, historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. The reasons behind this disproportionate contribution are complex and deeply rooted in traditional American Indian culture. In many respects, Native Americans are no different from others who volunteer for military service. They do, however, have distinctive cultural values which drive them to serve their country. One such value is their proud warrior tradition.

In part, the warrior tradition is a willingness to engage the enemy in battle. This characteristic has been clearly demonstrated by the courageous deeds of Native Americans in combat. However, the warrior tradition is best exemplified by the following qualities said to be inherent to most if not all Native American societies: strength, honor, pride, devotion, and wisdom. These qualities make a perfect fit with military tradition.

Source

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We begin the drive to Inscription House, that snow storm there in the distance is our destination

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The flag is put out as a road marker for the event next to Inscription House Trading Post.

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My mother, an elder, arrives to hold court and see her beloved family.  She is escorted by my little brother Nate who is her caregiver.

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My cousins, nieces and nephews are busy building juniper fires and prepping food

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Making fry bread

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Grilling dry bread

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The dry bread is starting to stack up

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Chopping juniper wood is an everyday task on the rez

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My family gets warm while the fire stokes down so one can cook on it

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On a visit to the rez you must include pics of the kids, these are the offspring of my nieces and nephews, cute or super cute?  Our tribe’s future…

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My niece and her family, she served in Iraq

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A young Navajo singer and drummer performed

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More elders arrive

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The veterans begin to arrive:

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Must photograph this Navajo bun hairstyle (note Navajo cradle board in car in background)

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Organizing for the flag ceremony

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Impromptu rehearsal (note the trumpet player on the far right, he is the music teacher at nearby Shonto school where my cousin Judy teaches kindergarten)

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Everyone lines up for chow:


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That’s me serving chow on the far right

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My 88 yr. old mom is pretty happy to be eating mutton stew (actually we have no idea exactly how old she is…she has no birth certificate.)

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Presenting the flag to a mother of a fallen soldier

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This is the impromptu color guard, job well done!

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My cousin Duane, a cross between Wes Studi and Travis Bickle, he saw the Berlin Wall come down

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We took two trips after this day’s main event:

1- a trip to visit my mom’s younger sister

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My Aunt Mary’s home

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Her home, this is one of the nicer homes on the rez

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A stockpile of wood chopped by my cousin Allen for my aunt Mary, his mother

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My mom visiting her younger sister

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2- Bonus photos for you from Monument Valley at twilight and before a snow storm

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Look along the top rim and notice the new hotel “The View”

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My haul for this trip and I scored, especially with the pottery my cousin Linda made

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The mutton stew I made with the blue corn I brought back with me.  YUM.

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The rest of this set of photos including personal ones lives here.  I recommend the slide show first and then go to the detailed version for descriptions of each pic.