The event, jointly sponsored by KAFB 377th Mission Support Group and Sandia’s American Indian Outreach Committee (AIOC), commenced with an opening prayer and greetings from Sandia Labs Director Steve Younger, NNSA Sandia Field Office Manager Jeff Harrell, and Col. Mike Harner, commander of the 377th Mission Support Group. Chris O’Gorman, senior manager in Sandia’s stockpile and systems organization, conducted a smooth program as the emcee for the event.
Entertainment was provided by Sandian Ron Hoskie, a renowned flutist who has entertained audiences around the state for many years and has long been a welcome fixture of Sandia group celebrations. The adult drum and dance performances were by Family of Southern Trail from Hogback, New Mexico, with head man Shawn James and head lady Shirlene Chee. The Little Eagle drum and dance group, made up of students from Jemez Day School and led by Malcolm Yepa, also performed.
According to event co-organizer Sherman Begay, “The Sandia/Kirtland Native American Heritage Month event was very successful thanks to the great partnership among the various resources and teams from Sandia and the base. Our goal was to celebrate and share an awareness of the deep tradition and rich culture of indigenous nations. The beautiful performances included background information to emphasize the importance of the performances. It was especially gratifying to us to watch the Little Eagles youth group perform. They proudly demonstrated that Indigenous youth will continue to protect and carry on these traditions for future generations.
“The AIOC and KAFB’s 377th Mission Support Group already look forward to next year’s celebration, which will build on this year’s successful event and turnout.”