The morning first activity was outside at the medicine wheel. The VAMC Director Garry Rossio addressed the assembled group with a welcoming statement. Jamul Village Honored Elder Jane Dumas presented a prayer in the local Kumeyaay language. Current construction was a constant reminder of the growing medical needs of our fellow warriors of all conflicts.
Moving into the VAMC facilities multi-purpose room the Chinle Navaho Gourd Society Color Guard posted the colors as the Flag song, Victory song and National Anthem filled the air with patriotism.
Host drum: Nikwaneem Singers, Cori Roberts, Perse Hooper, Kitty Luna set the theme, Honoring Women Warriors. Intertribal songs and traditional dancing commenced and offered an insight to the Native American culture. Additionally, Veterans and employees enjoyed the opportunities to be entertained and enjoy a slice of original American heritage. NAP member, Jerry Wilkerson danced in full regalia. He is dancing in recognition of the AIWA contributions to this event by the late Chet Hunt, USMC. Later in the afternoon he was joined by, twenty year retired Navy Chief, Richard Parker Van Dyke, Omaha, also in full regalia.
Further, in the afternoon, the Aztec dancers and drummers presented yet another facet of the cross-cultural heritage of the late Lori Piestewa, Hispanic. Mexican culture has touched many Native American and others lives in the greater southwest.
Also at this time
the NAP members and friends shared hot coffee and fried bread with all
the attendees to the event. This is a no cost, wonderful, generous, example
of Native American hospitality.
Steve Campbell, U.
S. Army Special Forces, ret. presented Indian flute songs. As the tribute
came to an end appropriate songs included a veteran's song and a memorial
song for the late honored Army PFC Lori Ann Piestewa.
For American Indians,
there are times when their culture runs opposite to the mainstream.
Carla is Lori's 3-year-old
daughter. She said her mother came to her after her death and told her
young daughter she wasn't coming home. In the visitation, Carla apparently
was told about the ambush. Carla's question is why did "they" shot her