With the drawn-out call of a conch shell, drumbeats began and dancers from the Aztec Tribal Dance Group came on to the stage, Nov. 20, at Wilson Theater.

The group, adorned in a flurry of brightly colored feathers, performed dances as part of Fort Campbell’s National Native American Heritage Month observance.

During the performance, male and female dancers came together, wearing traditional regalia including large, ornate and colorful feather headdresses and seed leggings that made a rattling noise when they danced. The dancers were accompanied by powerful drum beats, as well as rattling gourds, making for an immersive experience.

Sergeant First Class Marquise Phillips, the equal opportunity leader for 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), organized the event to commemorate National Native American Heritage month.

For 1st Lt. Thomas Kuche, the observance demonstrated the uniqueness with the Army’s ranks.

“I really enjoyed the Native American Heritage observance luncheon,” Kuche said. “Having the opportunity to take time and recognize the diversity that is in our Army is always an awesome experience and like Col. Barton said our Army’s diversity is a big reason why we as an Army are so good at what we do.”

Following the performance those in attendance were invited enjoy a traditional Native American meal that included fry bread, beef chili, succotash, roasted pork and Three Sisters Stew made of lima beans, squash and corn.

Observances like National Native American Heritage Month help raise awareness of different backgrounds, races and ethnicities, Phillips said.

“The more we understand our Soldiers the better we can motivate and lead them to success,” he said.

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