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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Native American Women Warriors
by Eulala Pegram
Since 2010, they have grown from three military women to forty. They did not dream when they first dressed in their beautiful jingle dresses with their military patches for Grand Entry in the Denver March Powwow in 2010 that they would become nationally known and honored.

They had no name then, just a desire to dance in dresses usually worn during a traditional dance for prayer and healing, with theirs using symbols of their military service. Nor did they know then that after that powwow they would travel around the country, representing Native women in the military in parades, do honor guard and color guard duties at powwows and march in a presidential inauguration parade. But they have.

In just three short years they have traveled to powwows and Native events and gatherings across the country. They now have a variety of identical jingle dresses designed by their president, Mitchelene BigMan, Crow, just for them. Even their name, when they finally needed one has evolved into the perfect name for them - The Native American Women Warriors.

They quickly elected officers and their calendar filled. Mitchelene regularly designs and sews new jingle dresses for them to wear. Their members grew and now include women warriors from all the military branches and all ranks of service. They are the first ever all female Color Guard and Honor Guard.

Since then they have served in such events as presenting the colors as part of women conferences and in the Band of Pride Tribute parade in Times Square in 2011. They also have many times been scheduled as motivational speakers. They are recognized as the first ever all Native American Women Color Guard, and Justin Young has created a NAWW Honor Song in their honor.

In 2013, there were about 2,800 groups applied to be in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. Sixty were chosen. The Native American Women Warriors was in that group.

Indian Country Today Media Network reported on the news coverage of NAWW's inaugural parade appearance. This might give an example of the magnitude of their accomplishments.

When CBS was "looking for a story to do about a group participating in the 2013 inaugural parade," they chose NAWW. For that story, they were interviewed by Correspondent Bryan Pitts for CBS Evening news. Of the 60 groups in the parade, he picked NAWW. Here are excerpt as reported in that ICT article.

Pitt says, "I thought of all the groups in the parade, the Native American women warriors seemed to be the perfect fit. It is a story that probably most Americans didn't know." He says all of them have different stories of struggle that led to great success. He praised the women for their humility and graciousness with both the crew and each other and for their sense of family.

A good story well told. Yet, even with all this recognition, each NAWW woman continues to comports herself with dignity, humbleness and pride, and, in doing so, also does her country proud.

Fact: Almost 5,000 Native American women served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here are the links for this story: Lots of picture possibilities




CBS coverage, ICT:

President's inauguration parade:

Their next engagements include Heading to Connecticut for the Welcome Home Viet Nam Vets nnnual event and the Gathering of Nations in New Mexico.

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