OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Veterans Affairs Service Office held a string of events during the month of November to honor Muscogee (Creek) Veterans.
The weeklong events started with a presentation by the National League of Families POW/MIA and the local POW/MIA organization Rolling Thunder at the Tulsa VFW Post 557 to remember the soldiers who never made it home on Nov. 3.
VASO partnered with Remembering America’s Heroes for the first time in 25 years. Muscogee (Creek) citizen, Vietnam Veteran and Mission 22 advocate Mike Coon assisted in bringing veterans from around the country to speak to Native students from Sapulpa High School, Eufaula High School and JROTC students.
Events regarding the partnership ended on Saturday, Nov. 6 at the National Native American Hall of Fame where special guest Marcella LeBeau was inducted by ceremony.
LaBeau is a Lakota of the Two Kettle Band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She served as a nurse in WWII becoming a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. She served in England, and then served from D-Day at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, to the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. LaBeau received the French “Legion of Honor” Medal on June 6, 2004 in Paris, France.
The Muscogee Nation Charter Bus transported special guests during the week to each event, guests were housed at the River Spirit Casino and Resort.
VASO continued in honoring Muscogee (Creek) Veterans with signs displayed on Hwy 75 near the MCN tribal complex and the College of Muscogee Nation with a ceremony held on Nov. 11.
According to VASO Director Grover Wind, Native Americans serve at a rate of one out of four compared to the regular rate of other ethnicities at one out of 12.
“Native American people have the highest population of any to serve in the U.S. military,” Wind said. “No matter the conflict, we have risked our lives for the very government that tried to eradicate us.”
Second Chief Del Beaver said veterans should be celebrated daily.
“One day is not enough to celebrate our veterans,” Beaver said.
Principal Chief David Hill claimed this ceremony was the first of many years to come and hoping to make it larger each year.
“We truly honor our veterans here, male and female and even the spouse and kids,” Hill said.
Native Americans take up 1.4 percent of the general population and 1.7 of the population that serve in the armed forces, according to Wind.
Muscogee (Creek) Veterans can seek services with MCN VASO at: 918-732-7739.