Native veteran Tommy Webster of the Oneida Wisconsin Nation carries
his tribe's eagle staff in the inaugural parade, he won't be alone.
be having 5,000 spirits with him," said Kerry Metoxen, director
of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin's veterans services office. "All
of our prior veterans who passed on will be with him."
the inaugural parade nears, tribal representatives in five states
-- North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Alaska and Idaho -- are preparing
for the coming presidential inauguration. Of the 560 federally recognized
tribes in the country, 11 Native nations have been invited to participate
in the parade for President-elect Barack Obama.
tribes had a Friday deadline of submitting all names of parade participants.
About half of the Native parade marchers will include veterans.
The Oneida will send five veterans.
North Dakota tribes plan to send 16 veterans, including representatives
from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, as well as the Spirit
Lake, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain tribes.
been working with them frantically all week," said Wes Long
Feather, a chief executive from the United Tribes Technical College
in Bismarck. "We're the only entry from North Dakota. It's
a historic event. There are so many people who want to be a part
of it. We have to give thanks to our North Dakota delegation who
worked so hard to get us into the parade and thought so much of
our intertribal organization to ask us to represent the state."
college was asked to participate and assemble the North Dakota tribes.
College president David Gipp was the only Native speaker to address
delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
tribes include the Crow Nation of Montana, the Nez Perce, Coeur
d'Alene and Kootenai in Idaho and an Alaskan Native dance group.
At final count, 1,382 groups and organizations filled out an application
to march in the parade. So far, about 90 groups have been selected.
will be humbling to be a participant. It's something you'll never
forget," said Paulette Jordan, who is organizing the Idaho
contingent, a combination of state and tribal leaders. It will be
good "to get out the voice of Indian Country. We're always
looked over, and we're somewhat invisible. This is our way of being
visible and putting our stamp and signature as part of the Obama
administration and everything he's doing. We're showing our support."
groups will parade down Pennsylvania Avenue after the Jan. 20 swearing-in
ceremony for Obama.
Jodi Rave at 800-366-7186, email@example.com