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Army Soldier continues Navajo lineage of service

☷Army Soldier continues Navajo lineage of service

U.S. Army
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   Sgt . 1st Class Claudia Favre , equal opportunity advisor in Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion , Eighth Army , poses for a photo ahead of Veterans Day , Nov . 8 , at Camp Humphreys , South Korea . Favre is part of the less than one perfecnt of service members who are Native American . She hopes to use her position to educate service members on the Navajo culture . ( Photo by Army Staff Sgt . Courtney Davis ) CAMP HUMPHREYS , Republic of Korea — She comes from a long line of hunters and warriors . From the plains of the Southwest to the jungle......s of Vietnam , Sgt . 1st Class Claudia Favre can trace her Navajo lineage through generations of fighters around the world . Favre serves as an equal opportunity adviser in the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion , Eighth Army , and is part of the less - than - one percent of service members who are Native Americans . She hopes to use her position to educate service members on Native American history . History Between 1100 and 1500 A . D . is when a distinct Navajo culture begins to emerge in the Southwest region of the United States . Their history includes a tumultuous relationship with the Spanish in the 1500s and then in 1863 being forced from their land in northwest New Mexico and marched more than 300 miles . The “Long Walk” to Fort Sumner , New Mexico , resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Navajo . “We were actually taken from our homes and lands and walked ( … ) away from our home , put into camps , we weren’t allowed to speak our language , children were separated , people starved to death , people died because it’s such a long journey , ” said Favre . Favre said having her people go through this experience and then persevere is inspiring . Four years after the Long Walk a treaty with the U . S . designated a Navajo Reservation , allowing the Navajo people to return where they rebuilt their economy and developed their culture . Despite not being granted citizenship until 1924 , the Navajo people served in both the first and second World War . Favre’s father was drafted into the Vietnam War and her grandfather volunteered to serve during World War II . Favre said she remembers her grandfather telling her stories of being on the battlefield as a code talker . He would use the Navajo language as a code to communicate with headquarters . On the other end of line would be another Navajo speaker who would translate . The patriarchs of her family not only served their country , but also served in their homes . Favre said hunting was an integral part of her culture and that she started “pulling back bows” when she was little . Today , Favre said she still has pretty good aim . Maintaining culture In addition to educating others on Native American history , Favre focuses on maintaining Navajo traditions within her own family . Growing up Favre learned to make traditional foods , branded cattle and even rode horses in rodeos . “What I carried over is my passion for animals , like riding horses , ” said Favre . “But I also want to start incorporating some of my native traditions to my kids , like the dances . ” As a child Favre spent time participating in powwows where she was a traditional jingle dancer , a Native American female who performs a dance of healing and pride which helps their people move forward in strength and hope . She said she would don her jingle dress ( prayer dress ) and perform the dance of healing . Powwows took place as forms of celebration and competition . Each had their own song and accompanying dance . She said there was the Warrior Dance , ( involves mock combat ) ; Grass Dance , ( competitive , Northern Native American style of dancing ) , Fancy Shawl dancers ( a dance mimicking butterflies in flight ) , and traditional northern and southern dancers . In addition , Favre said the Navajo people are a spiritual group and that rituals play a large part in their culture . Kinaldaa , a four - day coming - of - age ceremony involves a medicine man singing for the young girl’s welfare , during which , she is not supposed to sleep . “In the meantime , she is learning how to cook the Navajo cake , which is cooked in the ground , ” said Favre . Favre said military life makes teaching her own children her traditions more difficult because she is not able to visit the reservation , however she said keeping the culture alive in her family is important and hopes to be able to teach them . Fighting Stereotypes Favre said while many traditions remain in place , she sees modernization on the reservation through fashion and hairstyles . However , she believes there are still stereotypes placed on the Native American people . Favre said two extremes prevail: Native Americans are all like those characters depicted in John Wayne movies or the Disney Pocahontas movie , or on the other extreme , Native Americans are drug addicts or alcoholics . “There’s more to the Native American people than those two - than what’s being shown in the media , ” said Favre . “There’s so many Native Americans that are doing great things for America . We have astronauts , we have engineers , we have Native Americans that are building the Land Rovers for space , we have an elected congresswomen , and you have Native Americans in the Army doing great things , deploying and putting their lives on the line for their people and their country . ” Favre said that while much attention is given to the Code Talkers from World War II , she said it is time to recognize those who have made more recent contributions to society . “There’s a lot of Navajo now , in 2022 , that are in the Army that no one is talking about , ” said Favre . “The deployments we’ve been on , being a drill sergeant , being an ( equal opportunity advisor ) , there’s other things I wish ( were highlighted today ) versus the Army in 1945 and 1946 . ” Farve said it is time to , “put the newer generation on the map . ” Favre is part of that “newer generation” – those who , like the generations before them , chose to serve their families , their tribes , and their nation .


24 November 2022 ( November 24 2022 )



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Army Soldier continues Navajo lineage of service
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