Dancing, movie, displays part of Native American Heritage Month celebration

  • Published
  • By Corey Dahl
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
Base Exchange patrons got more than low-priced goods and a quick lunch Nov. 14.

Members of the Sweetwater Indian Dancers treated customers and passersby to traditional Native American dancing and drumming during the lunch hour. Part of the base's Native American Heritage Month celebration, the event was meant to give the Peterson community a taste of an important Native American tradition.

"The dancing is a big part of Native American culture," said Tech. Sgt. Rick Renzi, a member of the 76th Space Control Squadron, which helped organize the month's events. "Having the dancers come out gives the public a chance to see it up close."

Dancers later went to the Child Development Center to teach crafts to preschoolers.

The event was one of many the 76th SPCS organized throughout November. The group also set up displays explaining the month and offering brochures filled with Native American recipes in the BX, the fitness center and the Military Personnel Flight building.

A free screening of the movie "Windtalkers" rounded out the local observance activities.

Events were meant to educate the base community on Native Americans and their various contributions, including those made to the armed services, said Tech. Sgt. Terrell Borel, another member of the 76th SPCS.

"By showing "Windtalkers," we're letting people know about the Native American community's contributions to the military," he said. "They've played an important role, and it's necessary that we recognize that."

The movie, featuring actor Nicholas Cage, dramatizes the heroic efforts of Navaho-speaking soldiers. Few people are fluent in the dialect and the uniqueness of its structure made it perfect for use as an unbreakable code during World War II.