Mark Bluestone on Recognizing Veterans
Native American Essential Understanding number six is about native contributions. It states native people continue to contribute to all levels of society, from local to global in diverse fields, including medicine, science, government, education, economics, art, music, and many more.
In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to Mark Bluestone, enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, talking about recognizing our veterans.
How important it is that we believe in recognizing our own local veterans. We have a veteran wall, we have two of them. We have the actual wall right outside our high school gymnasium, but we also have a secondary one that's right next to the cafeteria. So anyone who graduates from the New Town School and wherever branch of service they went to, they get put on there. And so anyone who's on there like Mr. Hunter, he's on there under the Marines. So we have all the Marines that graduated, what year, all the Army National Guard, All of those people. And we have them color coded too. So by decades, because sometimes when we first started this project, Mr. Moran and I and several others, Mrs. Reimer, we kind of laid it out and we said, we kind of sent out the responsibility of people to tell us who joined the service.
And we have seen the sixties because of the Vietnam War, the pride that goes there when the people come in and they see their name in a certain color. And that's a decade, that's by decade. And so they come in, but you know, see the different people. And now they're sometimes not very happy because if they didn't finish school, but they're still in our community or should have finished school, they're not on the wall. It's for graduates of the New Town School District for that. And so sometimes there is some thought, well I'm from here, I should be on there. Well, but did you graduate from New Town High School? Like myself, I'm not on there, but I didn't graduate from New Town. But my three sons are up there because they graduated from New Town. And I think that's also one of those things where that's recognition of all of that is important. That being veteran status, serving your country, that community service, our tribal service that we do, that they do should be recognized and it should be honored for that commitment anyway. So that's a really cool thing.
If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.