Photos: Remembering the First Known Pow Wow Held in a U.S. Combat Zone by Native Americans
In 2004, U.S. Army Sergeant Debra Mooney, Choctaw, and the 120th Engineer Combat Battalion staged the first pow wow held in a U.S. combat zone by Native Americans. The Native American Inter-Tribal Pow Wow was held in Al Taqaddum, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
According to the National Museum of the American Indian, the two-day event, held at the Al Taqaddum Air Base near Fallujah, featured Native regalia, dancing and singing, and traditional games and foods, including genuine frybread. Participants made their pow wow drum from a discarded 55-gallon oil barrel and canvas from a cot. The goal of the pow wow was to bring a piece of home to Native Americans serving in Iraq while sharing their cultural heritage with fellow soldiers, marines, and sailors.
American Indians have served in the U.S. military since the American revolution, before they were allowed U.S. citizenship, and by percentage they serve more than any other ethnic group. The 120th Engineer Combat Battalion has its headquarters in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, also home to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.