USA: NSE Celebrates Native American Heritage
Sailors, DoD personnel, and civilians celebrated Native American Heritage Month with a ceremony in the Grand Vista Ballroom on Naval Station Everett (NSE), Nov. 28.
The ceremony featured speakers, a slide show and static display on Native American culture, music and native dance performances.
After an opening slide presentation commemorating the Native Americans who received the Medal of Honor, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 2nd Class (AW) Lawrence Solomon took the podium to speak, clothed in traditional native attire. Solomon, a member of the Lummi Indian Nation, described his pride in being able to display his culture to his fellow Sailors.
“I am very proud of who I am and where I come from,” he said. “I want to share the culture that I am so proud of with everyone around me.”
Swil Kanin, a noted Native American violinist, actor, poet and community advocate, spoke next at the event.
“As we gather together to celebrate our unique heritage, it is important to remember that we are all connected. As Sailors you are part of a brotherhood of service members. That makes you all family,” said Kanin, a former U.S. Army Drill Sergeant.
Kanin, president of the non-profit fine arts foundation “HonorWorks,” played a self-composed piece of music on his violin after speaking.
After Kanin finished playing, performers from the Seawolf Group took the stage to perform traditional “Coast Salish” songs and dances. Coast Salish is the Native American term for the Puget Sound, the area surrounding Naval Station Everett.
Solomon, his wife Denise and daughter Cassandra are all part of the Seawolf Group, a group of Lummi and other Native Americans who express their love of their culture through song and dance. Solomon and his wife sang in the Lummi language while their daughter and other performers danced during the ceremony.
The performers used traditional drums and the dancers used painted canoe paddles as part of their dance, a Lummi tradition.
“In the Navy, diversity and making an effort to embrace other cultures is very essential to our core values,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Cualk, executive officer of Naval Station Everett. “The more we learn about the rich cultures of others, the more we learn about ourselves and the great country that we live in as a whole.”
After the ceremony concluded, traditional Native American cuisine was served at Everett’s All-American Grill.
Naval Today Staff,November 30, 2012; Image: US Navy