Training held on Wabanaki cultural awareness for Maine Native American military service

By  | 

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The first Wabanaki Cultural Awareness Training regarding Maine's Native Americans who have served in the military was held at the Togus VA Thursday.

Attendees learned about the history of Native American service throughout the years.

They discussed the importance of keeping in mind Native American culture and the long history they have in defending the United States.

"It's important for everyone to realize the different cultures and the different input that the tribes have done," said Donald Soctomah, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe. "It creates an awareness."

"Not only are our grandfathers, and our great-grandfathers, and our great-great-grandfathers, we have thousands of years of connection to this land, so defended it just comes naturally," said Paul Downing of the Passamaquoddy Joint Tribal Council. "It's almost blended into our DNA. This is our land and we're going to keep fighting for it."

The event was held in collaboration with the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services and VA Maine.

"Today is about celebrating our diversity," said David A. Richmond, Director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services.