This year’s Native American Indian Heritage luncheon guest speaker, Louie Speaking Eagle, spoke not only about how his tribe’s heritage is preserved through tradition, but he also spoke about the history of Jazz within the tribes.
Eagle and his band, “Red Hot & Red” also provided the entertainment for the luncheon with their Native American Indian Jazz melodies, Nov. 13. The theme for this year’s luncheon, held at the Dining Facility, was “Guiding our Destiny with Heritage and Tradition.”
“We connect the past and the future with the present. We feel who we are, we feel where we come from and we also feel our ancestors,” Eagle said. “I stick with the traditions my ancestors fought so hard to keep alive.”
Eagle said most of the current decisions the tribes make are based off of the belief system of previous generations. Traditions never change and are never questioned because, Eagle said, tribal ancestors always had the future in mind when creating them. He said it was important for him for traditions to stay the same so that he can be reassured that they will be passed on to his children’s children.
“They have something that’s very old, very real, very ancestral, and very concrete,” Eagle said.
The luncheon is held annually to recognize the Native American people and highlight Native American leaders throughout history. Guests were able to choose from a menu that was rich with Native American dishes. This is the second year the band visits the range for the annual Native American Indian Heritage Luncheon. The band is made up of three members each from a different tribe. Eagle, of the Zacatec tribe is the drummer, Rob “Milo” Jaramillo of the Isleta Pueblo is the bassist, and Steve Figueroa of the Laguna Pueblo is the pianist. The band prides itself on being the first Native American Jazz trio in history.
“We want people to understand that native folks have been involved with Jazz since its inception,” Eagle said.
Band members were recognized at the end of the event with a certificate presented by WSMR Executive Director, Paul Mann.