By Arlene Duncan
I am Arlene Duncan, a Marine Veteran and a proud member of Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Minnesota. I joined Native American Women Warriors in December 2012, and in January I had the great honor of representing the Marine Corps, tribe and family in the 2013 Inaugural Parade.
Native American Women Warriors was founded by Mitchelene BigMan at Denver March in 2010 and started with her and two other members. Since then NAWW made history by participating in the 2013 Inaugural March for 2nd term President Barack Obama and now have grown to over 30 members strong.
The original dress, the red, white and blue and Cheyenne pink were made by Mitchelene BigMan to signify her patriotism. The red dresses designed by NAWW’s members (past and present), signify the blood that was shed for this great nation. The blue ones signifying valor and courage as warrior.
With the new growth we have had many changes, I started helping NAWW by taking on the role as event coordinator. In February 2013 our Vice President stepped down to pursue a career on the East Coast and I stepped up to fill the position. This position had some big moccasins to fill and I hope I can do the position justice. Our other new members have taken on new roles as well. Angel Young (secretary), Brenda McEwing (treasurer).
We are continuing to grow recruiting new members and setting up chapters in various states. Our duties are still color guard but we have taken on a mission to help our fellow women veterans of Native American descent in areas of need; health, employment and education.
This month we have a color guard event March 11th and 12th in Las Vegas for the National RES BusinnesTrade show, And then gearing up for March 22-24 when we will be at the Denver Powwow for their grand entry and all three days. Several women will be competing in their dance competitions and we will be inducting posthumously Army PFC Lori Piestewa as a honorary member of NAWW.
For the month of October NAWW will be going Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. We will be making pink jingle dresses with silver cones and do our share in getting the word out to women to do self exams and for women to get their mammograms.
NAWW future is bright and we are exciting to be on a great path toward success. If you would like to know more about NAWW please check out our website at www.nativeamericanwomenwarriors.org.