January 21, 2013

Woman Warriors on CBS

Native American Women Warriors Receive Mainstream National Coverage on CBS

By Vincent SchillingThe Native American Women Warriors, an all Native American women’s color guard, consisting of female veterans from all branches of service, have received national and mainstream media coverage on their participation in the 2013 Inaugural festivities.

Over the past week, CBS and other news organizations have followed the NAWW group as they have made their way to Washington D.C. to participate specifically in the American Indian Society Inaugural Ball and Powwow and the Inauguration Parade of re-elected President Barack Obama.

The story will air at 6 p.m. EST on the CBS Evening News and will be the last story of the evening highlighted their week’s activities.

According to CBS correspondent Byron Pitts, “We were looking for a story to do about a group participating in the inaugural parade and the Native American women warriors seemed to be a perfect fit. It is a story that probably most Americans didn't know. I think one of my lines in the story was, 'all of them have different stories of struggle that led to great success.'"
How NAWW got started:

Native American Women Warriors Celebrate Inauguration While Raising Awareness for Native Female Veterans

By Vincent SchillingWhile jingle dresses generally have a bright mixture of colors and are adorned with jingle bells, those worn by BigMan and the other two female vets proudly displayed large emblems of their branch of service on their backs. When an elder, Camille Clairmont, noticed how their red, white and blue jingle dresses were decorated—with the women’s designation of unit and rank, as well as U.S. flags and Iraqi Freedom patches—she asked Mitchelene why they were not with the other color guards.

When BigMan explained that they were not official color guards, Clairmont told them “the dresses speak for themselves.” Meaning, they looked as if they belonged in the color-guard procession.

BigMan agreed, and the three women decided they would join the other color guards. The male color guards told them to go at the end of the line, behind all of the male veteran color guards. BigMan was at first discouraged but then realized their position in the rear of the line was not a dishonor, but rather, a special position, since they’d be the last color guards seen.

As the color guards entered the arena, the emcee announced, “History has been made today—in all my years as an emcee, there has never been an all-female Native American color guard, and so I have the privilege in announcing our first.” And through such accidents is history made.

After marching at the Denver powwow, BigMan decided to officially serve as an all-women Native color guard. She founded The Native American Women Warriors, a non-profit organization that seeks to address the needs of today’s modern military women. Her Women Warriors are also the first all Native American female color guard. They now regularly serve as a color guard at powwows, and travel all over the country for events honoring Native veterans.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see First Female Native Color Guard.

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