West Point Native American Heritage Forum Holds Eagle Feather Ceremony

Categories: Cadet News, Clubs
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On May 24, the West Point Native American Heritage Forum held an Eagle Feather Ceremony at the Class of ’42 Terrace on West Point. COL (R) Kevin Brown ’87 of the Mohegan Tribe, lead the ceremony. Seven graduates from the Class of 2024 represented tribes including the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Cofan Taino Tribes, Delaware Tribe of Bartlesville, the Navajo/Dine, and the Lenca Tribe (Honduras).

The ceremony entails giving eagle feathers to mark and honor the significant accomplishment of graduating West Point and entering the service. In Native American cultures, the eagle is sacred and spiritually significant because as it flies, roaming the sky, it enjoys a special connection to the Creator. Its feathers symbolize honesty, respect, honor, strength, courage, wisdom, power, and freedom.

In addition to eagle feathers, cadets were also gifted braided sweetgrass. The sweetgrass was braided in three strands for seven braids each to acknowledge the seven generations before them. Their families were honored with a medicine ball to bring them good health to ensure they could watch over their cadet.

Several special guests were in attendance including: 
Mrs Penni Boberg, Ute / Eastern band of Cherokee, Mentor to the NAHF
COL (R) Jeff Peterson ‘87, PhD, Character Advisor to the Superintendent
Lisa Benitez ’88, Chief Engagement and Retention Officer
Dan Galvan ’00, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Secretary Joe Crittenden, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Ethan Green, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Chris Key, San Carlos Apache / Navajo, Board Member of Hesperus
COL Ben Wallen, Assistant OIC of the Native American Heritage Forum

The Native American Heritage Forum supports and celebrates the culture of cadets from indigenous heritage across the Americas.

There are nearly 120 cadet clubs at West Point including athletic, recreational, academic, religious, hobby, and diversity clubs – something for virtually every interest, made possible by donors supporting the Margin of Excellence.

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