JBLM celebrates Native American Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colleen Anthony

This November, Team McChord joins the nation in commemorating Native American Heritage Month and honoring the culture and contributions of Native Americans in the military and Pacific Northwest community.

At the 62d Airlift Wing, the NAHM coordination team recognized the significance and invaluable contributions made by Native American service members through exhibits across McChord.

Recognizing Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest is especially important to Team McChord since a total of 3,300 acres of Tribal allotments within the Nisqually Reservation are located within the current boundaries of JBLM. To this day, the Nisqually Tribe harvests various natural resources, and maintains the Nisqually Tribe's Clear Creek Hatchery on JBLM.

“Celebrating one’s cultural heritage is paramount to knowing and realizing our deepest values … it is a powerful driving force in our lives,” said Senior Airman Jenina Albajeso, an event organizer and squadron aviation resource manager with the 8th Airlift Squadron.

 Additionally, the NAHM team educated Airmen on the impact of the Native American Soldiers who used their indigenous languages to develop unbreakable codes to protect vital communication, also known as “code talkers,” that dates back to World War I.

“We can support Native Americans by bringing awareness to the Tribe's lifestyle and encouraging a deeper understanding of the issues they face,” said Staff Sgt. Keifer Baldwin, an event organizer and senior weapons system controller with the 62d Maintenance Group.

Developing strong partnerships with local Native American Tribes ensures successful use and respect for the land and wildlife in the area.