JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
Members of the Cheroenhaka tribe from Southampton County, Virginia, visited Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, Nov. 30, 2018, to highlight and share the history and traditions of Native Americans in the Virginia area during Native American Indian Heritage Month.
The 2018 Presidential Proclamation of the observance and celebration of the Native American heritage states, “America’s Native Americans have fortified our country with their traditions and values, making tremendous contributions to every aspect of our national life. Our nation is proud of and grateful for its Native American heritage and traditions, including a history of innovation and entrepreneurship. The essential contributions of Native Americans continue to strengthen the American family and brighten out future together.”
During the ceremony, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col Walker D. “Red Hawk” Brown III, Cheroenhaka tribe chief, presented traditional Native American music, dance and chanting to U.S. Army Soldiers.
Brown ran through Wylie Theater, presenting a tradition to ensure peace among his tribe and the JBLE community.
“We are Iroquoian speakers and it is part of our tradition that we always send a runner when we enter someone else’s area of operations,” said Brown. “That runner has a peace arrow, and we present that peace arrow on behalf of the tribe, however, if the peace arrow is not sent back, it means war.”
After receiving the peace arrow and learning what it meant, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Benenati, Training and Doctrine Command deputy chief of staff, quickly handed the arrow back to signify that war is not desired.
Native Americans have served in the U.S. military in every war in some capacity for over 200 years. During the Civil War, over 28,000 Native Americans served and during World War II, over 44,000 served, including the Navajo code talkers, according to what site or who said?.
Throughout the multitude of wars in U.S. military history, 29 Native Americans have earned the Medal of Honor. For more information on the Cheroenhaka tribe and their events that are open to the public, visit, cheroenhaka-nottoway.org.