Fort Detrick Recognizes Native American Heritage Month

Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr. with special guest speakers

Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr. presented a certificate of appreciation to special guest speakers (left to right) Ben Madrid, Maya Boston and Juan Boston at Fort Detrick's Native American Heritage Month Observance Nov. 14 at the Community Activities Center. (Photo by Siegfried Bruner)

The Fort Detrick community observed Native American Heritage Month Nov. 14 at the Community Activities Center.

Post and U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Equal Opportunity offices sponsored the event packed with music, cultural presentations, trivia games, and awards.

In her remarks, guest speaker and Native American Maya Boston spoke of the strong influence spirituality plays in Native Americans' lives. She addressed some common misunderstandings of Native American culture and beliefs.

"Spirituality is a way of life for us. We believe everything has its own energy and purpose, and that it is not up to us to judge others," said Boston.

According to Boston, Native Americans' great respect for the land and restraint from judging their fellow man led the early settlers to wrongly conclude they were godless. Likewise, the Native American belief that the earth belonged to everyone was also misconstrued and exploited.

Juan Boston, Maya Boston's brother, explained how Native American adornments such as feathers and instruments such as the drum symbolized his people's tie to God and the natural world. He shared that the drum represents the heartbeat of mother earth and feathers, particularly of that of an eagle, represent those creatures that can fly closest to the heavens.

USAMRMC and Fort Detrick Commanding General Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr. concluded the observance by recognizing special guests and event organizers and distributing certificates of appreciation.

"Thank you for giving us a greater understanding of the Native American heritage," said Caravalho.

Commenting on what she hoped attendees would take away from the information shared that afternoon, Equal Opportunity Advisor Sgt. 1st Class Millasent Jacobs said, "I hope people have a better awareness of all of the great contributions Native Americans have made in this country. Native Americans fought for this country in every major war, influenced widely practiced religions, and even introduced new foods. We've taken so much. This is our way of giving back."

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Last Modified Date: 06-Dec-2013