Beyond the Uniform: an Airman’s journey of service, self and culture

Beyond the Uniform: an Airman’s journey of service, self and culture


for me it’s a transformation I start
from my feet and I’m working my way up to my head but what that represents is I
start from my feet kind of putting away the stresses of the day what it does is
allows me to listen to the drum to hear the songs to hear the beat to kind of
feel there is no routine you dance however you feel when you’re dancing
that song I started this journey when I was 10 so
my grandparents lived in Eugene Oregon and I was I’m the youngest of three
children in my family so my brother and sister started traveling out west to
spend summer times with my grandparents when they were old enough to do it and
so I was always itching to get my turn whenever I was old enough so at the age
of 10 I started traveling out to the visit and spend times with my
grandparents and that’s where I started learning how
to do bead work how to sing how to dance my grandmother taught us about respect
for mother earth and some of the traditions and culture of our tribe I joined the Air Force in February of
1999 and ultimately I was looking for a little bit of discipline in my life
you know I’d spent a year in college and it wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do
when I grow up and so in ’99 no that wasn’t a part of my
life as as we all kind of experience things we kind of lose track of who we
are maybe try to find out who we are and so we kind of discount maybe things our
parents you know taught us because we know more than our parents do and so we
all kind of go on these journeys together but separately at the same time what changed for me was was a deployment
to Iraq in 2008 and I realized that the the how precious life is so I decided at that point when I got
home that I was going to I was going to stop dreaming about and thinking about
starting to dance again or to to craft or whatever and I so I stopped thinking
about it and I started doing it all the success I’d have in my military career
and my civilian career none of it compared to what it means to craft
and to dance you know and to be in touch with that part of my culture

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