By Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
America’s rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories were celebrated, Nov. 15-16, at Kelley Barracks and Panzer Kaserne, respectively.
November is National American Indian Heritage Month, or also commonly referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Equal Opportunity office and community leaders hosted two observances.
Under the theme “Serving Our Nations,” the event programs featured guest speakers Kendall Old Elk, a member of the Apsaalooke nation (the Crow Tribe from the south-central part of Montana), and Military Police Staff Sgt. Lionell D. Red Cloud, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Col. Glenn K. Dickenson, commander, USAG Stuttgart, remarked on the importance of this year’s theme during the ceremony held on Panzer Kaserne.
“It’s not just serving a nation, it’s serving our nations … learning how they served and understood the culture and nature around them,” Dickenson said.
Old Elk spoke to the history of his tribe and performed at both ceremonies, accompanied by his wife and daughter. He also gave attendees insight on the meaning behind details of his Native American regalia, from each feather earned in battle, to teeth and bones.
On Kelley Barracks, Red Cloud is the 7th generation of the original Chief Red Cloud. His great grandfather was the last chief to bear the name Red Cloud. The tribe is currently without a chief. Red Cloud spoke to his heritage and personal background as a Native in America, serving in the U.S. military.
“I am not a Native American, I am Native and American. I wear my uniform with pride for my heritage and my country,” Red Cloud said. “I do not regard my family history with shame, but of pride, because it is American history. What my grandfather did was open doors for our people, and through our battles with his government, we became unified as one people, one country, that I’m proud to serve.”
Red Cloud ended with one reminder for all: “We are people, we live with you, we learn with you, our children play with yours, we work with you, we serve with you. We are native and American.”
These observances celebrate and acknowledge the important contributions of Native peoples. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about the hundreds of tribes and cultures in the U.S. still today, and to raise awareness about the challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
View the event photos here.
Read more about the history of National American Indian Heritage Month, here.
About Kendall Grant Old Elk
A member of the Apsaalooke nation, or Crow Tribe, from the South Central part of the state of Montana, in the U.S., Kendall Old Elk is a Native American advocate who speaks on Native American issues in the U.S. and abroad. He is a traditional singer and dancer, having performed professionally for more than 15 years with the groups that include the Eagle Feather Dance Troupe, Buffalo Spirit Dance Theatre, Elk River Dancers, and the Little Big Horn College Dancers.
In 2000, Old Elk performed at the inauguration of President George W. Bush. He also performed for the King Don Juan Carlos of Spain. Additionally, he has completed work with traditional native arts and crafts, organizing powwows and other events throughout North America. He considers himself lucky to have been raised in both a traditional and a modern lifestyle.
He served four years in the U.S. Army and left honorably as a specialist.
About Staff Sgt. Lionell D. Red Cloud
Staff Sgt. Lionell D. Red Cloud was born on March 18, 1987 in Landstuhl, Germany, and was raised in DeRidder, Louisiana. He is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He entered the active military service on April 14, 2008. He attended Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Upon graduation, he was awarded the military occupational specialty 31B, Military Police.
Red Cloud has served duty as a MP patrolman, gunner, driver, team leader, squad leader, desk sergeant, operations sergeant, patrol team leader and training noncommissioned officer. Assignments include: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia; 4th Bde., 10th Mountain Div., Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, Germany. Red Cloud deployed to Iraq in support of Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, and to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In addition to military education and training, Red Cloud holds a Master of Science degree in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (3OLC), Army Achievement Medal (2OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal (1 Combat Star), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (1 Combat Star), Global War on Terrorism Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, the NATO Medal, Air Assault Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.