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Kirtland hosts Native American celebration honoring heritage, contributions

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers perform at the American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month celebration on Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 14, 2019. The performers demonstrated traditional tribal dance, music, and songs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessie Perkins)

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers perform at the American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month celebration on Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 14, 2019. The performers demonstrated traditional tribal dance, music, and songs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessie Perkins)

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers perform at the American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month celebration on Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 14, 2019. The celebration recognized and honored those that have served in the armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

The White Mountain Apache Tribe Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers perform at the American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month celebration on Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 14, 2019. The celebration recognized and honored those that have served in the armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ireland Summers)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE --

Team Kirtland celebrated American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month at the Rio Grande Community Center, Nov. 14, 2019.

This celebration was part of a series of four events during the month of November to observe and honor American Indians and Alaska Natives who have served in the armed forces. Alaska Natives include indigenous groups like the Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians.

U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher J. King, 377th Air Base Wing vice commander, recognized Native American and Alaska Native’s contributions to the armed forces.

 “Native Americans have heroically served in the United States armed forces since our inception,” said King. “Today, more than 20,000 Native Americans and Alaskan Natives serve in the armed forces as Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard and Department of Defense civilians at home and abroad.”

At the celebration, five members of the Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers from the White Mountain Apache Tribe performed traditional dance and music.

Rudy Lucario, Diamond Creek Crowne Dancers leader, and his team traveled from Arizona to perform.

“I never thought I’d perform on a military base,” said Lucario. “It will be a day no one will forget.”

The performance ended with a prayer song and dance where the audience was asked to stand and receive their prayer.  

The fourth and final event of the monthly observance will include a presentation about media literacy in Native American areas and will be held in building 822, room 15, Nov. 18, 2019, at 10 a.m.