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Texas NRCS Celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

story by Jerry Pearce

Forty USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees gathered to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month in the State Office at Temple Texas on November 29th. Sponsored by the American Indian/ Alaska Native Employees Association (AIANEA), the event featured displays of Native American clothing and samples of traditional foods.

Jerry Pearce, AIANAE Program Manager, was the emceed. John Mueller, acting NRCS state conservationist, greeted the group on behalf of Salvador Salinas. Ted Herrera, elder with the AIANEA, opened the event with a traditional blessing and later spoke to the group about the origin and history of the indigenous people of South Texas and the influence they had on language and culture in the area. The group then enjoyed a meal of traditional foods including buffalo stew, corn cakes, bannock, and dessert. Participants enjoyed a video entitled "Plants and the Cherokee" which detailed how the Cherokee people have used plants for food, shelter, and medicine for centuries.

This was the first cultural awareness event held in observance of American Indian heritage Month in several years. USDA, and NRCS in particular, observes American Indian/ Alaska Native Heritage Month each November to celebrate the many contributions Native Americans have made to society.

Front from left: Sherry Cosper, Cindy Sultenfuss, JoAnn Herrera, and Gary Stephens. Back  from left: John Mueller, Jerry Pearce, and Ted Herrera.

Front row, from left are Sherry Cosper, Cindy Sultenfuss, JoAnn Herrera, and Gary Stephens.
Back row, from left are John Mueller, Jerry Pearce, and Ted Herrera.

A special display of Native American garments, dolls, and accessories. A special display of Native American garments, dolls, and accessories.

A special display of Native American garments, dolls and accessories.

A special display of Native American garments, dolls, and accessories.

A special display of Native American garments, dolls and accessories.