View Full Version : Quantico Marines celebrate National American Indian Heritage MCB Quantico

12-08-05, 01:32 PM
Quantico Marines celebrate National American Indian Heritage MCB Quantico
Story by Pfc. Travis Crewdson

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (Dec. 8, 2005) -- A group of Quantico Marines visited the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington Nov. 30 in honor of National American Indian Heritage Month.

"(The trip) was for the Marines to educate themselves about Native American heritage, and I wanted to learn more about my culture and myself," said Staff Sgt. Brenda M. Clark, a Lakota Sioux Indian.

Upon arriving at the museum, some of the Marines watched a film about native tribes taking care of their own. The 40-minute movie contained biographies of three people who were born in a tribe but grew up outside of Indian culture. Eventually, all three were compelled to return to their tribes because they felt like it was where they belonged. Once they came back, they were welcomed despite the fact that they were so different.

All of the Marines on the trip visited the third and fourth floors, which housed the museum's three main exhibits, "Our Peoples," "Our Universes" and "Our Lives." There were glass cases, some with self-closing drawers of smaller objects such as jewelry, and touch screen monitors that gave all the known details about objects that were shown there. The displays explained the history of numerous tribes. Some showed beads, which Clark, who is an equal opportunity representative from Facilities Division, explained were originally made of very small rocks. Artifacts such as arrowheads, weapons, money, art, pottery and tools were also showcased.

"I liked the arrowheads. I found one as a kid and wanted to see what others look like," said Lance Cpl. Leslie A. Acevedo, a postal clerk of Mayan origin.

Gunnery Sgt. Primitivo R. Sapla, an equal opportunity representative from Marine Corps Systems Command, was interested in the displays of different weapons.

"Having to make your own bow and make your own arrows and hunting, that must be the best feeling in the world," he said.

At the entrance to the "Our Lives" exhibition on the third floor, a screen on both sides showed Indian people of various ages and occupations walking in a loop. Sgt. Leander C. Sage, a wire supervisor at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said he went to the museum to see his wife, himself and two other Marines on the screen in their dress blue uniforms. They had all answered a casting call, along with Native soldiers, sailors, doctors and policemen, to be permanently displayed on the screen.

Also on the third floor was the resource center, offering more in-depth information on Native people and artifacts not in the exhibits. Many of the Marines pursued further information about their own heritages. Lance Cpl. Ashley A. Mohr, an awards clerk of Sepeca Indian heritage, found her tribe's name projected on a wall along with hundreds of other tribal titles.

"I liked anything that pertained to the Plains Indians, because that is part of who I am," said Lance Cpl. Melanie C. Jackson, a postal clerk.

As the trip came to an end, the Marines went through the gift shops and ate at the Mitsitam Café. According to a museum pamphlet, "Mitsitam" means "let's eat" in the Piscataway and Delaware language. The café had several counters, and each served Native foods from a different area of the world.

NMAI was established by an act of Congress in 1989 and opened Sept. 21, 2004. It is the 18th of the Smithsonian Institution's world-renowned museums. The building is open daily, and admission is free to the public.