USAMRIID Hosts Native American Heritage Observance
The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases hosted a Native American Indian Observance at Fort Detrick's Community Activities Center Nov. 17.
The observance celebrated the rich history and time-honored cultural traditions of American Indian Heritage. This month's theme is Serving Our Nations.
"This is a time to celebrate the very rich and diverse cultures, traditions and contributions of Native peoples. American Indians and Alaska Natives have a rich and often storied history amongst the melting pot that is America," said USAMRIID Commander Col. Thomas S. Bundt during his remarks. "This month is also a time to help educate many of us about the 566 tribal nations which have a nation-to-nation relationship with the U.S. government and are known legally as 'federally recognized tribes.'"
As of the 2015 U.S. Census, the Nation's population of American Indians and Alaskan Natives made up 1.8 percent of the total U.S. population. In 1991, Congress passed Senate Joint Resolution 172, which authorized the President of the U.S. to proclaim the month of November, and each November thereafter, as American Indian Heritage Month. A proclamation by President Barack Obama was read during the ceremony.
"While many of us come from different backgrounds and diverse cultures, the integration of American Indians has had a distinct influence. My own heritage includes distant family members who were part of both the Ottawa and Nisqually Indian tribes dating back to the later 19th century," shared Bundt.
Peter Giove of the Mohawk Tribe performed a traditional hoop dance during the ceremony. Giove, who is a USAMRIID security officer, has been a hoop dancer since 1993 for a wide range of audiences across the country and around the world. Giove performed with a number of 'hula' size hoops accompanied by his wife singing a chant while rhythmically beating a drum.
The celebration concluded with a lively game of trivia with questions and answers drawn from clues from the observation and program.
"In many ways we owe a great deal to these original Americans and should take great pride in being able to recognize their substantial contributions today during this month of November 2016," said Bundt in closing.