Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 1    May 2011

Native American Women Warriors

C:\Users\mitchelene.bigman.NANW\AppData\Local\Temp\1\wz8786\Sunday Denver Pow wow 2011 027.JPG
(From left to right):SFC Mitchelene BigMan, Crow;  SSG Cindy Darrington, Navajo; SSG Toni Eaglefeathers, N. Cheyenne; and CSM Julia Kelly, Crow

“This was not our intention to become a color guard at the Denver March powwow 2010; it was created from a simple dress."

SFC Mitchelene BigMan, SSG Cindy Darrington, and SSG Toni Eaglefeathers are soldiers from the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Navajo Nations. The three women are gaining recognition as a unique color guard.

The women designed the same dresses using the same colors: red, white, blue, and Indian pink. The main designs were also the same but placed differently along with Army unit and combat patches, rank, U.S. Flag and Iraqi Freedom patch.

C:\Users\mitchelene.bigman.NANW\Pictures\Female Color Guard.jpgThe women chose to make jingle dresses and dance in jingle style because of the meaning:  prayer and healing. 

BigMan, Darrington, and Eaglefeathers wore their regalia to the Denver Powwow in March. The women never intended to become color guards. They simply wanted to embrace healing for a nation in turmoil.

While preparing for the grand entry an elder, Camille Claremont, noticed the dresses and asked about their significance. The women replied that they were military veterans, both active and retired. 

Claremont asked “why are you not in with the color guards?” The women replied that they weren't in uniform.

Claremont told them, “your dresses speak for themselves. ” Then she left and told the arena directors of the female soldiers and their dresses. 

As the women lined up, the arena directors quickly came over and asked for their names, ranks, branch of service and Native Nation. They also asked for the color guard's name. The women didn't have one. In haste they were given the name “Army Women’s Iraqi Freedom Veterans," then placed with the other color guards. 

When the Army women's group was announced, the MC said history was being made -- BigMan, Darrington, and Eaglefeathers were the first all female Native American color guard.

medicine-wheel.jpg lakota medicine wheel image by djladyj

Since this historical day the three women have have been invited to several powwows as a color guard team.  They also participated in NYC's Veterans Day parade last year and presented the colors as part of the "Band of Pride Tribute."  The women wore their dresses and regalia.

The women have since changed their color guard's name to Native American Women Warriors in honor of all females in all branches of service.   


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