By Roy Cook

Every day is American Military Veterans Day. Nationally, on the calendar and in the U. S. of A. we recognize Veterans Day as November 12th. The Barona Tribe sponsored an elder’s luncheon recognizing our Tribal Veterans this past November 8, 2005. This event is organized by the Barona Tribal Museum. Our brothers in arms have shed their blood for the freedoms we enjoy or disregard. That is part of the liberty and democracy that defines us as a country.

When we gather as Warriors on Tribal land there is a very special and tangible emotion connected with the shared experience that transcends the usual teasing over military branches and theaters of operation. Shaking hands and acknowledging each other we can see our tribal ancestors in the eyes looking back upon us. This thing we have done is for the people so that they may live. Strong words in the proper context. Words to die for. Words to live by. We believe in these traditional tribal ways. It is an honor to be included in this fine group of women and men who have served in many conflicts and services.

The wisdom of our uncles and grandfathers sustain us as a tribal people. They define the role of the Warrior in American Indian- modern American society. In the English language we must hyphenate the terms for clarity. At all times Tribal culture teaches one to be humble and modest and in the same context courageous and brave. In the tribal oral tradition, in the tribal council circle of truth, our individual deeds and soul are bared. It is traditionally proper for these statements to be presented by another person. This procedure allows one to be recognized and yet not be considered boastful. Every time we are at meetings, dances, songs, luncheons or dinners that familiar military service memory of shared dangers or tragedies seems to squeeze our heart. Silently we give thanks for coming back and perhaps, to again serve our tribal people in a good way. Therefore, my friend, any day, and every day, thank a veteran.

We appreciate the invitation and on behalf of the American Indian Warriors Association we are honored to be in the company of such fine fellow warriors and our beloved Tribal Elders. Mehan.

Tribal Reflections respectfully reported by
Roy Cook: Writer, speaker, singer, curator (Opata-Oodham)