CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — The North Bay clan of the Lower Creek Muskogee tribe spent the weekend honoring our nation’s heroes through its annual Veteran’s Day weekend Pow Wow.
The tribe holds two Pow Wows each year: one in May to honor Memorial Day and one in November to honor Veteran’s Day.
Deldreck Ford, the clan’s newly-elected vice chief is a veteran himself and says many members of the tribe have served their time, too.
“It’s always been very close to my heart,” he said. “I come from a military family. This pretty much – you might as well say – is a military tribe. A lot of our functioners here are veterans themselves, which was one of the biggest things for me coming here was it was like coming home to people that understood what you went through.”
Another veteran tribe member is Carl Bush. Over the weekend, he commemorated the nation’s veterans both symbolically and spiritually.
“Warriors are always front-and-center in any Native American culture. The warriors are the guys that keep the village free. They’re the ones that provide the food. They’re the ones that go out and fight the battles. They’re the ones that make sure that you have a safe place to sleep at night,” Bush said. “What do our soldiers do? What do our veterans do? They fight to keep our nation free and clear where you can go to bed and sleep at night.”
But by “veterans”, he’s referring to all of those fighting battles: overseas or right at home.
“We consider first-responders as veterans, too,” he said. “The fire department, they fight battles every day for us. Police department, they fight battles every day for us. The EMS guys, they fight battles for us everyday. They’re protecting our lives and our health. They’re also veterans. They’re also considered warriors in our in our way of looking at things.”
During the ceremonies, tribes devote special dances to fallen veterans. Young William Truax is a local grass dancer.
“They’re honoring every single veteran, marine corps, navy,” he said. “I am very glad about it. It gives me happiness. I get to dance for every single soldier that’s fallen. And I’m just very happy about the ones that have fallen. They served a good life. They fought for our freedom.”
They also spent the ceremonial Veteran’s Day weekend honoring the life and passing of the tribe’s recently fallen vice chief, Alfred Marsh.
“Brother Marsh was an army veteran, Korean War veteran, and he was also a mason,” Bush said. “And he was also just an outstanding man in the community.”
Now Ford is learning the ropes
“It’s more like a ‘he’s gone but never forgotten’ type thing,” Ford said. “It’s been a great honor to actually set this event up just, you know, as his successor. It’s been a great ordeal for me, a lot of pressure, much-needed pressure, a lot of learning from the chief and picking up where he left off.”