American Indian Heritage Shared at Buckley CDCs
By Janet Watkins, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 10, 2010
Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. -- They squirm and wiggle and play with each others' hair. They have no concept of personal space, wear sparkly shoes that light up when they are stepped on, and smile non-stop. They have attention spans of about two and a half minutes and do not hesitate to simply get up and walk away when you have ceased to be entertaining. But, they were a captive audience, and so they gave it their best shot to understand what the strange new adults were reading, adults who were wearing the exact same clothes their parents wear.
November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and the most teachable folks on the planet were right here in our very own Child Development Centers...or so we thought. 2nd Lt. Jared Rutkovitz, 460 CONS, and his team, gathered from Team Buckley's own, scheduled time with the directors of the Crested Butte and A-Basin CDCs to read to the children. Books were gathered from the local library that told stories of American Indian culture. The children were gathered in circles on the floor, or around tables with their snacks of vanilla wafers and milk, and the great big adults sat in miniature chairs so the pictures in the books could be easily seen.
Then the stories began. The two to three-year olds pointed at the pictures and asked about the tipi's and the moccasins. The four and five-year olds jumped into the stories and related their own experiences with buffalo books, braided hair, and night-time stars (and how their father is bald, too.)
Ancient Indian lore and tales were passed on. The very little children unanimously clapped after each story - a very gratifying response to the readers. The older children, a little less afraid of strangers, asked questions and wanted close-up looks of the pictures in the books. While the glimpse of American Indian culture was fascinating to the kids, it is entirely possible that they weren't the ones who learned the most this second Tuesday in November. When the reading was over the volunteer readers gathered in the lobbies of the CDCs and agreed that time with the children had been a blast.
Just some of the books read to the children, and available at your local library to read to your own children: Coyote in Love with a Star by Marty Kreipe; Storm Makers Tipi, and Iktomi and Boulder, and The Return of the Buffaloes - all by Paul Goble; The Rough-Faced Girl by Rafe Martin.
Adults who walked away from the experience feeling gratified and appreciated included: 2nd Lt. Jared Rutkovitz, 460 CONS; Chief MSgt. Marilyn Savage, 460 SCS; Master Sgt.'s Johnny Greenberry, 460 SCS; Jill LaVoie, 460 SW PA and John Azbell, 460 FSS; Tech. Sgt. Deann Gallegos, ARPC; Staff Sgt. Meagan Hill, 460 FSS; Senior Airmen Theresa Derby, 460 CONS and Teody Mendoza, 566 IS; Airmen 1st Class Jessica Lopez, 460 MSG; Jasmine Madison, AFISRA Det 45; A1C Tierra Baugh, 460 LRS; Paul Labbe. 460 SW PA; Joseph Gast, 566 IS; Brandon Keiffer, 460 SFS; Daniel Belhomme, 460 SFS; Airmen Christopher Kunze, 566 IS; Mr. Nathan Peters, 460 FSS; Ms. Hazel Weitzel, 460 CONS; Ms. Mary Monzon, 460 FSS and Ms. Shawna Romero, 460 FSS.