By Morgan Taylor, Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – On Oct. 12, the city of Okmulgee along with Muscogee (Creek) Nation held a celebration of Indigenous People’s Day replacing Columbus Day.
Guest speaker and veteran Michael Coon paid tribute to other Native American veterans at the celebration and also spoke of the different ways he is seeking veteran recognition.
“I am a member of the Gold Star Family. I lost my son who was a veteran in 2015,” Coon said. “I continue in my mission to reach to other Gold Star Families to help them in the hardships, trails and tribulations that they go through when dealing with the loss of a loved one.”
Coon is affiliated with Mission 22. They are currently working on a memorial at Broken Arrow Veterans Center that will unveil 20 silhouettes of Gold Star Family fallen soldiers.
“One of these silhouettes is my son,” Coon said. “I ask that you join us when we celebrate the fallen soldiers at the unveil in April or May .”
Coon is currently working with the Senate on House Bill 4715 to help promote veteran services through an organization called National American Indian Veterans.
“I know because one might live in certain jurisdiction they can’t always get the services that they need,” Coon said. “With NAIV it doesn’t matter where one is located they can get that assistance.”
Montana Senator Mike Rounds is a major sponsor as well as other sponsors around the country.
“Of the 579 federally recognized tribes, veterans will have their own entity,” Coon said. “This is a long time coming as we are the highest ethnic group to serve in the military. It makes sense that we should have our own charter. We have had a huge response to this with sponsors from different senators from different states along with mayors all the way from California to North Carolina.”
Coon is working on another project called Purple Hearts.
“I am working on making the cities here of the 39 tribes I am responsible for here in Oklahoma Purple Heart cities,” Coon said. “A lot of our native veterans were Purple Heart recipients so I think it would be a great honor for Okmulgee (MCN capital) to become a Purple Heart City to represent Muscogee Veterans.”
Having a sign that states, “You are now entering Purple Heart City” and “You are now leaving Purple Heart City” as one enters and leaves the town would identify Purple Heart Cities.
South Korea donated PPE to the NAIV, which Coon has taken across the Muscogee (Creek) reservation and donated to different veteran facilities as well as other MCN facilities.
“We are appreciative of this donation as it gives back to the Native Americans for serving in the South Korean Homelands,” Coon stated.
“At the NAIV, Veterans helping Veterans is our main concern,” Coon said. “I ask that you write your chiefs asking for their support of the House Bill 4715 to make sure all 579 tribes are united as one.”
The NAIV is a non-profit organization that helps and works for all Native American Indian Veterans. For more information on the NAIV and the works of Coon, check the NAIV Facebook page.