The Historic Preservation Department of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians was contacted by the International Fellows Program (IFP) of the United States Army War College (USAWC) about hosting a luncheon to expose their officers from all over the world to the Puyallup Tribe's history and culture.
With Tribal Council's approval of the event, Historic Preservation staff member, Jennifer Keating Hallberg coordinated with the International Fellows Program to try and give the War College Students a glimpse in to the Puyallup Tribe's past and present ways of life.
This year's IFP consisted of 33 senior military officers from 33 different countries around the world. The US Chief of Staff invites Foreign Military to nominate a qualified officer who meets the prerequisites for the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During their one year stay in the United States, the officer's time consists of studying, researching and being acclimated to the U.S. culture and institutions through study and travel in the Continental United States.
As mandated by the Secretary of Defense, the IFP is required to show the International Officers the American way of life as a part of their studies. Kevin Bremer, Deputy Director for the International Fellows Program, states "We expose students to our way of life, thinking, views, issues and challenges. We've been here in Washington State for a week and wanted to capture the life of the Northwest area, which is why we contacted the Puyallup Tribe."
In order to accommodate the IFP request to see and experience the Puyallup Tribe's history and culture, the Historic Preservation Department reached out to Chief Leschi Schools, Grandview Early Learning Center, Puyallup Language Department and Marine View Ventures to participate in the luncheon at the Emerald Queen Casino.
Chairman, Herman Dillon Sr. opened the luncheon with a welcoming speech and accepted a gift from the IFP on behalf of the Puyallup Tribal Council. Following Chairman Dillon's hospitable welcome, the IFP enjoyed a traditional meal of salmon and shellfish, while the Chief Leschi students took center stage.
Teresa Harvey and Antonette Squally, Chief Leschi Culture Teachers, brought 12 students to offer song, drumming and dance. Teresa Harvey explained to the Military Officers the significance of each song and dance that the children were performing. After the Chief Leschi student performance, the military officers had a chance to talk to the children, take pictures and thank them for coming and doing such a wonderful job.
Carol Ann Hawks, Historic Preservation Director commented on the children's performance, "The officers really enjoyed the kids, they did a great job and I am so proud of them." Antonette Squally related, "I thought the luncheon was spectacular. The kids really enjoyed themselves. They were excited and were in awe of meeting so many people from other countries."
Following the Chief Leschi students amazing performance, the International Military Officers were shown a Puyallup Tribal History video that was created by the Historic Preservation Department. The video depicts the life of our ancestors' pre-contact to white settlement, Medicine Creek Treaty, allotments, establishment of our Tribal Council, and the present day ventures of the Tribe.
Kevin Bremer stated, "The military officers found the History video incredibly interesting. Many students were most impressed with how the Tribe was almost decimated, and now the Puyallup Tribe is growing and thriving. They were shocked at finding out what America did to the Native Americans." He also expressed, "They found it fascinating that the Gaming industry brings the Tribe an income stream to help its members and the community."
The Puyallup Tribe's History video set the foundation for a question and answer period where the officers' inquiries could be answered by an expert panel. The Tribal Expert Panel consisted of Chad Wright, CEO-Marine View Ventures, Tami Cooper, Director-Language Program and Antonette Squally, Culture Teacher at Chief Leschi School. The Military officers asked questions of the panel in regards to the Puyallup Tribe's culture and current issues. Many Officers asked questions regarding the language and teaching the children traditional ways. Some asked about identity issues in Indian country. Questions were asked regarding the Casinos and land
Panel member Chad Wright stated, "I thought the best part was the questions that they had for all of us; they were attentive to the video and wanted to know more about our Tribe."
Tami Cooper expressed, "I think this was a positive event for International awareness and sharing where we are as a Tribe. I like how each panel member had their own perspective in answering questions."
To close out the luncheon, Sarah Stafford, GELC Teacher brought her class of Grandview Early Learning Center children to drum and sing for the International Officers. The GELC children held the entire IFP attendees captive in watching their performances. The Officers had huge smiles on their faces and had their cameras out taking pictures. When the children were done performing, they were swarmed by the Officers and their heartfelt thanks and appreciation for their performance.
Kevin Bremer shared, "The students thought the children were wonderful, and thought it was a privilege and honor to share that time with them."
Tami Cooper commented on the event in whole, "The Historic Preservation Department did a great job on coordination of the luncheon. I thought it was great that our Tribe participated in this International event. People have misconceptions on who we are and we were able to address those. I hope that these things will happen regularly, on a yearly basis. The children did an awesome job and it shows the commitment of the staff who are leading them, and we appreciate that they were incorporated into this event."
Chad Wright expressed, "I'm proud when our tribe can host those types of events, when we can share our story to a group of high level individuals from around the world; it makes me feel good as a member of the tribe."
Kevin Bremer thankfully stated, "We extend heartfelt sincere thanks to the Tribe and look forward to doing it again."
Story by Amber Sterud Hayward, Historic Preservation Department