News Article View

We Are All Wyverns: Native American Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brooke Moeder
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

November is Native American Heritage Month, where the culture, heritage, histories and traditions of Native Americans is celebrated and acknowledged.

For this edition of ‘We Are All Wyverns,’ we’d like to introduce you to U.S. Air Force Capt. Rachael Bradley Powers, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron interim director of operations.

Powers grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her Mom and grandparents, and would frequently visit relatives who lived on the reservation near Kirtland and Sheep Springs, New Mexico.

“I’m 50% Navajo and my mom is 100% full Navajo,” said Powers. “We would go and visit every other weekend, it was just a couple hour drive. I was very lucky and it's not like I grew up in it every day, but family gatherings are huge, along with birthdays and weddings.”

She said she is proud of her Native American heritage and culture. She followed in her grandfather’s footsteps by joining the Air Force and carried on his legacy.

“My Chei (Chei is grandfather in Navajo), his name was Leroy Bradley, and was in the Air Force from April 6, 1942 to Sept. 30 1967, retiring after 25 years,” said Powers. “While he was active duty, he earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He didn’t ever really talk about how or what he did to earn those medals, I know he was just doing what he could to support his country and his family.”

While growing up, Powers celebrated different traditions with her family but finds it difficult to practice traditions while stationed overseas.

“There's the gathering of Nations in New Mexico which involves individuals from all over the United States that come and celebrate and there's dancing and food,” said Powers. “There's just culture everywhere you look. Beyond that, a lot of the other traditions are mainly weddings, family gatherings and such. Being overseas makes it a bit difficult, away from family and not being near there to practice.”

Powers said she hopes to continue to keep her heritage and culture alive just like her grandparents and great grandparents did.

“I think continuing to promote the Native American culture during the entire year, rather than just one month, is a good starting point!” emphasized Powers.

We all may have different stories, cultures, traditions and diverse backgrounds, but We Are All Wyverns.