Native American warriors past and present, was the unofficial theme for this year’s Native American Indian Heritage month held at the Frontier Club Nov. 13. Apache tribal member Freddie Kaydahzinne was the guest speaker at this year’s event.
“We are honored to be here today to spend a few minutes with you to share our words and our songs,” Kaydahzinne said.
Kaydahzinne spoke about the long history of warriors from the Apache tribe. Kaydahzinne, a direct descendant of Cochise, spoke about how the tribe continues to make a name for itself even after their rich legacy. Kaydahzinne said that the Apache people are currently the number two employers in the area.
“We have progressed and we have solidified our economy,” Kaydahzinne said. “I am proud of all of my people because we have learned to be competitive.”
Kaydahzinne said that in spite of learning to assimilate to the modern day culture, the tribe still takes the time to teach their heritage through songs, and ceremonies.
“We have made a tremendous effort to maintain our culture, our language and our ceremonies,” Kaydahzinne said.
During his speech, Kaydahzinne tried to dispel misconceptions about the tribe. Kaydahzinne said that though the tribe does have several ceremonies and rituals, they only believe in “God Almighty.” They do however believe that everything has a soul, including the rain and clouds.
“We have a special relationship with what God has created,” Kaydahzinne said.
The celebration ended with a speech by WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin. Coffin spoke about the history of how Native American Indian Heritage month came to be. Coffin spoke about a Native American by the name of Red Fox James who in 1915 rode on horseback state to state seeking endorsements for a day to honor Native Americans. James later presented 24 endorsements to the White House in December of that year. Coffin also spoke about the large number of service members who continue to serve and those who were recognized for their acts of valor and ultimate sacrifice.
“I think it’s very appropriate that we’re celebrating today, right after Veteran’s Day,” Coffin said. “Native American history is more than just about those who served. These stories of heroism are indicative of the contributions Native American people have made to our country.”
Coffin and WSMR Command Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers presented Kaydahzinne and his team with an award for taking the time to share their heritage with the installation.