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Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups.
Charlotte Lorraine Seay Jennings was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her Grandmother Lottie Lee was a Native American Cherokee Indian. In 1967, she graduated...
Mr. Butler was born in Washington, D.C. on August 7, 1970, son of Piscataway Conoy Tribal members Thomas W. Butler Sr. and Bernice C. Butler. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 as a Security Policeman...
A native of Oregon and a member of the Cherokee tribe, Lieutenant Colonel Katherine Lilly is an Aircraft Maintenance Officer currently assigned to the Headquarters...
A native from Idaho, Maj Marlo L. Repeta commissioned into the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in January 1994. She was assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu...
Marine Corps Maj. David Dixon is an AH-1W Cobra helicopter pilot who has completed two deployments to Iraq, one deployment to Japan and several tours...
Christi Hames Dolbeer is originally from Decatur, Alabama and currently resides in Hartselle, Alabama. Christi’s Native American heritage includes Cherokee ancestry from both parents....
Charlotte Lorraine Seay Jennings was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her Grandmother Lottie Lee was a Native American Cherokee Indian. In 1967, she graduated from Schenley High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps September 22, 1967 – her 18th birthday. Jennings joined the Army Reserves in 1974 along with her husband. In 1979, then Master Sgt. Jennings decided to enlist with the U.S. Army as an Active Guard and Reserve member. She later retired on Aug 31, 2001, with numerous awards. She served a combined total of 27 years, 4 months and 19 days. Her son also served in the Army.
Throughout her military career, Jennings continued her dedication to soldiers in positions of increased leadership and responsibility. She has always held positions that enabled her to help others. During her career she served as a military police officer, equal opportunity advisor, first sergeant, human resources ncoic, alcohol/drug tester and counselor. In 1998 she became certified as a suicide prevention counselor and has been a volunteer for family readiness helping the families of deployed soldiers since the start of Desert Storm in 1990. Jennings can now be found in the Library of Congress American Folklife Center as part of the Veterans Women’s History Project. She is a member of the American Legion Post 283 and the National Association of Black Military Women.
Jennings attended the University of Phoenix where she graduated with honors with a degree in Human Services in June 2005. She is currently the alcohol and drug control officer for the 311th Sustainment Command with a total of 14 years.
Mr. Butler was born in Washington, D.C. on August 7, 1970, son of Piscataway Conoy Tribal members Thomas W. Butler Sr. and Bernice C. Butler. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 as a Security Policeman. He met and married Mrs. Felecia (Bruce) Butler and they are the proud parents of Ms. Desiree Butler. During his 21 years of military service, Mr. Butler transitioned from serving and as a security police officer to an Equal Employment (EEO) Opportunity professional and a professional military education instructor.
Currently, Mr. Butler serves as an EEO Manager for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). He provides support for all EEO activities including complaints, education, and program compliance. He also works closely with management officials, human resources and general counsel to develop action plans to eliminate barriers to create a model EEO program outlined in the Management Directive-715. He coordinates the EEO and Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) training program, manages three Special Emphasis Programs and is a member of the ARL Diversity Advisory Board.
Mr. Butler established the ARL SHARP program, to include developing agency policies, procedures and processes. He manages the SHARP program, coordinates and conducts training, inspections, curriculum development, reports, and provides oversight for volunteer instructors. He led a team to develop a civilian-centric guide book for the ARL workforce that has become a benchmark for other installations throughout the Army.
He is also a council member for the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, working toward the development of educational, social, and developmental opportunities for his people. Mr. Butler is involved in community service by providing trainings to the Society of Black Engineers. He dedicates time to providing security services for his local church and coaches his daughter’s high school volleyball team.
Mr. Butler holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources from the University of Maryland University College and three Associate of Science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force. He also holds certifications as a curriculum developer, facilitator, mediator, counselor, and True Colors trainer.
Mr. Butler has been awarded the following campaign badges/expeditionary medals:
A native of Oregon and a member of the Cherokee tribe, Lieutenant Colonel Katherine Lilly is an Aircraft Maintenance Officer currently assigned to the Headquarters Air Force Staff as the Deputy Logistics Panel Chair. In her current assignment, she is responsible for managing a 112 billion dollar budget over the fiscal year defense program as well as the integration of over 60 programs within the Logistics Portfolio. Colonel Lilly is also instrumental in the strategic integration and prioritization of the Air Force Logistics requirements supporting the 30-year Resource Allocation Plan setting the foundation for the future.
Over the past 18 years, she has been assigned to four separate Air Force Commands (Air Combat Command, Air Force Material Command, Air Mobility Command, and Pacific Air Forces) leading and mentoring Total Force teams, supporting aircraft across both the fixed and rotary wing continuum. During this time, Colonel Lilly completed numerous deployments around the world as well as commanding three separate squadrons, which included a combat tour in Western Afghanistan as the 802nd Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron Commander. She culminated her command tour being awarded the Bronze Star for her leadership in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Additionally, while assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base she led critical maintenance operations supporting Operation TOMADACHI’s multi-national disaster relief response following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Colonel Lilly graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Business Administration receiving her commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1997. She has also completed a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership with a graduate certificate in Logistics and a Master of Science Degree in Military Operational Art. She is married to Michael D. Lilly and they have two sons, Keegan and Konnor.
A native from Idaho, Maj Marlo L. Repeta commissioned into the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in January 1994. She was assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii where she worked in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit with post-operative open heart patients. During her tour she volunteered for a Humanitarian tour to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Central America, for six months. Upon her return to Tripler, she transferred to the Emergency Department. In 1996, Maj Repeta completed an inter-service transfer into the U.S Air Force and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Wilford Hall Medical Center Level 1 Emergency/Trauma Center in San Antonio, Texas. During her time at Wilford Hall, Maj Repeta obtained her Critical Care Air Transport Team certification and completed numerous missions and passed her Certified Emergency Nurse certification.
In 2002, Maj Repeta was transferred to Andrews AFB, Malcolm Grow Medical Center as Element Leader for the Emergency Department. During her tour at Andrews she decided to exit the military to start a family. She re-commissioned in 2009 and returned to Malcolm Grow Medical Center and deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan and worked in the Craig Joint Theater Hospital Emergency/Trauma Center. She treated nearly one thousand trauma patients in six months. Upon return to Andrews AFB Maj Repeta was selected as Flight Commander of the second busiest Emergency Department in the National Capitol Region. She led the department through BRAC (base-closure and realignment) and her department won the hospital-wide team award four times. She accepted orders to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea in May 2013 as the Flight Commander of Emergency Services and Deputy Squadron Commander for Medical Operations Squadron. She led three clinical flights and thirty-six healthcare personnel in providing medical coverage for nearly three thousand service members and two F-16 Fighter Squadrons. She also provided medical support for nine hundred US Marines during operation “Max Thunder” and two “Halo” jumps during operation “Foal Eagle”.
Maj Repeta’s follow-on assignment was back to Malcolm Grow Medical Center and she was selected as the Operations Officer for the Medical Operations Squadron, a one year assignment providing administrative oversight of the largest squadron in the 779th Medical Group. She currently works for the Pentagon Flight Medicine Clinic providing direct medical services in support of three Major Commands, two Wings and 122 tenants to include Secretary of Defense, Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Maj Repeta is married to Richard Repeta, an Emergency Medicine physician on the command team at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital as the Director of Healthcare Operations and Strategic Planning. She has two young children, Ryan and Maya.
Marine Corps Maj. David Dixon is an AH-1W Cobra helicopter pilot who has completed two deployments to Iraq, one deployment to Japan and several tours aboard U.S. Navy ships. Dixon graduated with honors from Texas A&M University as a Lowry Mays Fellow. He also holds master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education - where he received an academic scholarship, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business - where he was named a Rising Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Dixon’s military decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal - for heroism, six Strike/Flight Air Medals for Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal for innovation and problem solving and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. In 2012 Dixon was selected as a Tillman Military Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Dixon’s writings have been published in the Boston Globe Christian Science Monitor, Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Angeles Times, Marine Corps Gazette, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and many other outlets. He authored two case studies that were published through Harvard Business School, and he co-authored an award winning research paper titled Making Good Instructors Great: USMC Cognitive Readiness and Instructor Professionalization Initiatives. His book, Call in the Air, won the 2014 Robert A Gannon award for distinguished writing from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and his book Goodnight Marines, was released in 2015. David has given professional speaking presentations at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, University of Maryland, University of Washington, Choctaw Nation, and at numerous military conferences and programs. He is the President of Callsign Enterprises LLC - a leadership consulting company, and he has travelled extensively through Asia, Europe, and South America.
Dixon regularly volunteers with his church and local community. An active member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in 2012 he received the Defense Meritorious Service Award from the Society of American Indian Government Employees. As an athlete - Dixon has completed marathons on four continents, and was featured in several national newspapers for running the Great Wall of China Marathon in 2009. He regularly competes in USA Track and Field sanctioned events as a Javelin thrower. Since 2014 David has been stationed in New Orleans, Louisiana where he lives with his wife, Jackie Dixon.
Christi Hames Dolbeer is originally from Decatur, Alabama and currently resides in Hartselle, Alabama. Christi’s Native American heritage includes Cherokee ancestry from both parents. She is 1/8 Cherokee and is a member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe. Ms. Dolbeer began her career with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) in 1991as an engineering co-op in the Research Function of the Propulsion Directorate on Redstone Arsenal. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in 1993, she continued working in the Research Function on solid composite propellant development and characterization efforts. As a part of the intern program, she next moved to the PAC-3 Product Office in 1995 and became the Solid Rocket Motor (SRM)/Lethality Enhancer (LE)/Attitude Control Section (ACS) lead during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program. Her next career move was to the 3M Chemical Plant in Decatur, Alabama in 1997. She had manufacturing engineering responsibility for production of a family of fluoro-chemical electrochemical cell product intermediates, including those used in the production of 3M’s Light-Water™ Firefighting foam, Scotch-Guard™ and Scotch-Ban™ protective coatings, a family of non-conductive heat transfer fluids, as well as DuPont produced Teflon™. Christi moved back to AMRDEC Propulsion and Structures Directorate in 2000 and provided co-located propulsion engineering support to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Project Office Missile Directorate as lead for the Divert and Attitude Control Section (DACS) Integrated Product Team (IPT) during EMD phase of program. In 2002, she moved physically back to Propulsion and Structures in the Propulsion Technology Function. She continued to provide Subject Matter Expert support to THAAD and also worked several heavy fuel engine and hybrid rocket motor development and evaluation efforts. When Energetic Materials Function was formed, she was moved to this group and led a number of solid propellant development and characterization efforts. She was promoted to a DB-IV as a Man in the Job Experimental Developer in 2010. In 2013 she was selected to become the Chief of the Energetic Materials Function. Most recently, in October 2015, she was selected to become the Associate Director of the Propulsion and Structures Division of Weapons Development and Integration Directorate (WDI).
She is married to Barry Dolbeer and has four children: Riley Salter (20), Tyler Dolbeer (16), Ashley Dolbeer (12) and Katelyn Dolbeer (8). She attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Decatur, Alabama. Christi graduated from Decatur High School and earned her BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and her MSE in Aerospace Engineer with a concentration in Propulsion also from UAH.
"American Indians and Alaska Natives enrich every aspect of our country. As the first to live on this land, Native Americans and their traditions and values inspired -- and continue to inspire -- the ideals of self-governance and determination that are the framework of our Nation."
- President Barack Obama
November is National American Indian Heritage Month, honoring American Indians and Alaska Natives. This year, the Society of American Indian Government Employees has selected the theme "Growing Native Leaders: Enhancing Our Seven Generations."
In 1914, Red Fox James, a Blackfeet, rode on horseback from state to state seeking support for a day to honor American Indians. A year later, James presented the endorsements of 24 state governments to the White House. There is no record of a national day being proclaimed, despite his efforts.
"National American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers, and settlers of the United States."
"Congress has recognized the right of tribes to have a greater say over the development and implementation of federal programs and policies that directly impact on them and their tribal members." It did so by enacting two major pieces of legislation that together embody the important concepts of tribal self-determination and self-governance: The Indian Self-determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, as amended (25 U.S.C." 450 et seq." ) and the Tribal Self-Governance Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C." 458aa et seq." )."
In 1924, Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, also known as the Snyder Act, giving American Indians the right to vote." After a survey in 1938 found that eight states still prohibited Indians from voting, several cases were brought to the Supreme Court." Utah, Minnesota, and Arizona were the last states to allow the vote, and it wasn’t until 1965 that all barriers to American Indians were eliminated in the United States."
"Native Alaskan tribes belong to five geographic areas, are organized under 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations, and speak 22 different dialects." They also have 11 distinct cultures."
In 2002, astronaut and Chickasaw Indian John Bennett Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to orbit the Earth." He carried a ceramic Hopi pot emblazoned with three corn motifs into space, 250 miles above the surface of the planet." Herrington also carried a decorated eagle feather given to him by an Elder of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which was floated in the International Space Station airlock."
American Indians and Alaska Natives come from a multitude of different cultures with diverse languages, and for thousands of years used oral tradition to pass down familial and cultural information among generations of tribal members." As contact between Indians and non-Indians grew, so did the necessity of learning of new languages." Even into the 20th century, many American Indians and Alaska Natives were bi- or multilingual as a result of learning to speak their own language as well as English, French, Russian, or Spanish, or even another tribal language."
Historically, American Indians have the highest record of military service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups." The reasons are deeply rooted in traditional cultural values that drive them to serve their country." These include a proud warrior tradition, best exemplified by the following qualities said to be inherent to most, if not all, Native American societies: strength, honor, pride, devotion, and wisdom." These qualities closely correlate with military tradition."
"Every year, our Nation pauses to reflect on the profound ways the First Americans have shaped our country's character and culture." The first stewards of our environment, early voices for the values that define our Nation, and models of government to our Founding Fathers—American Indians and Alaska Natives helped build the very fabric of America." Today, their spirit and many contributions continue to enrich our communities and strengthen our country." " —President Barack Obama
In the Korean Conflict, one Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to an American Indian serviceman." In the Vietnam War, 41,500 Indian personnel served." In 1990, prior to Operation Desert Storm, some 24,000 Indian men and women were in the military." Approximately 3,000 served in the Persian Gulf with three among those killed in action." American Indian service personnel have also served in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom)."
Starting in World War I and again in World War II, the U.S." military employed a number of American Indian servicemen to use their tribal languages as a military code that could not be broken by the enemy." These “code talkers” came from many different tribes, including Chippewa, Choctaw, Creek, Crow, Comanche, Hopi, Navajo, Seminole, and Sioux." During World War II, the Navajos constituted the largest component within that elite group."
"A federally recognized tribe is an American Indian or Alaska Native tribal entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs."
Keith Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation, became the first member of a federally recognized Indian tribe to serve at the U.S." Ambassador level when he was confirmed as United States Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2014." In his career as an attorney, he has focused on issues involving injustice against Native peoples."
More than 44,000 American Indians, out of a total population of less than 350,000, served in the military with distinction between 1941 and 1945 in both European and Pacific theaters of war." Native American men and women on the home front also showed an intense desire to serve their country, and they were an integral part of the war effort." Over 40,000 Indian people left their reservations to work in ordnance depots, factories, and other war industries."
Ohiyesa, also known as Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman, was born in 1858 on a Santee Sioux reservation in Minnesota. He graduated from Dartmouth College, and then from medical school. He worked as a doctor for the Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where he treated those injured in the U.S. Army attack on Lakota Chief Big Foot's band at Wounded Knee. In 1910, he helped establish the Boy Scouts of America.
As Commissioner of Indian Affairs under President Roosevelt, John Collier crusaded to prevent the absorption of the Native American culture into mainstream American society, and questioned the wisdom of such decisions." During his time in office, Collier reformed Indian religious freedom, public relief and conservation programs, as well as protection and retention of tribal land."
The Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934, also known as the Indian Reorganization Act, was established to alter the U.S." policy that encouraged American Indian assimilation." The law changed the land allotment system, permitted tribes to establish governments with limited powers, and allowed the creation of corporations to manage tribal resources."
A diverse and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex." The NMAI cares for one of the world's most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego."
On November 20, 2013, American Indian code talkers from 566 tribes were honored with Congressional Silver Medals, and leaders from the tribes’ 33 nations received Congressional Gold Medals." These medals recognized the contributions of the code talkers during World War I and World War II, when they used their native languages to encode secret or sensitive information so that the enemy could not decipher radio transmissions."
During World War I more than 8,000 American Indian soldiers, of whom 6,000 were volunteers, served." Their patriotism moved Congress to pass the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924." In World War II, 25,000 American Indian and Alaska Native men and women fought on all fronts in Europe and the South Pacific earning, collectively, at least 71 Air Medals, 51 Silver Stars, 47 Bronze Stars, 34 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and two Congressional Medals of Honor." Alaska Natives also served in the Alaska Territorial Guard."
During the Civil War, American Indians served on both sides of the conflict." Among the most well-known are Brigadier General Ely S." Parker (Seneca), an aide to Union General Ulysses S." Grant who recorded the terms of Confederate General Robert E." Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia that ended the war, and Brigadier General Stand Watie (Cherokee), the last of the Confederate generals to cease fighting after the surrender was concluded." American Indians also fought with Theodore Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War."
At the 1964 Olympics, Sioux Indian Billy Mills set a world record for and won the gold medal in the 10k race event, and still remains the only American to win gold in the event." Following this accomplishment, Mills played a keystone part in the foundation of Running Strong for American Indian Youth – an organization dedicated to helping Native American youth lead healthy lifestyles and take pride in their heritage."
After graduating from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1889 at the top of her class, Susan La Flesche Picotte became the first Native American woman to become a physician." In the years following her graduation she served as the medical missionary of the Omaha tribe and greatly improved health care conditions."
Wilma Mankiller was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and in 1945, she became the first female to be elected the Principal Chief of her nation." She won two elections the second with 83% of the vote and played a major part in the Cherokee Nation’s success, growth, and prosperity during her tenure." President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998."
Alaska has about 20 distinct languages divided between two main language groups: Eskimo-Aleut and Athabasan-Eyak-Tlingit." Since its creation by the Alaska Legislature in 1972, the Alaska Native Language Center has researched and documented Alaska’s Native languages."
Tom Oxendine, a Lumbee Indian, became the first American Indian to graduate from the U.S." Naval Academy in 1942, and later received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his rescue of a fellow pilot who was drowning." He served the United States in both the Korean and Vietnam War."
Did you know that the Iroquois League of Nations government was a model for the development of the U.S." government? Benjamin Franklin said that the idea of a federal government, in which certain powers are given to a central government and all other powers are reserved for the states, was adapted from the system of government used by the Iroquois League of Nations."
Mary G." Ross was the first female engineer at Lockheed’s Missiles Systems Division (1952) and the first known Native American woman to be an engineer." At Lockheed, Ross designed missiles and rockets, and developed systems for human space flight and interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus." After retiring, she began a second career as an advocate for women and Native Americans in engineering and mathematics."
"As the first people to live on the land we all cherish, American Indians and Alaska Natives have profoundly shaped our country's character and our cultural heritage." Today, American Indians are leaders in every aspect of our society—from the boardroom to the battlefield, to the classroom."
DoD Observes National American Indian Heritage Month