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I am a Native American Airman

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt Alexi Bosarge
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

 

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, SD. – Rapid City, S.D. is surrounded by Native American culture, and the 28th Bomb Wing has many Native American Airmen among its ranks. 

 

November is recognized as Native American Heritage Month; a time to celebrate and learn about the different Native cultures across the United States.

 

One Airman from Ellsworth, Senior Airmen Aaron LeClair, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, spoke about his Native American heritage.

 

“I believe that celebrating Native American Heritage month is important because it’s a time where we can spread awareness and show our culture to the world,” said LeClair. “I am a descendant of both the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and Otoe Missouria Tribe and my culture is a big part of who I am.”

 

LeClair stated he is very proud of his Native American background and has incorporated elements of his culture into his Air Force career.

 

“My people have always had our battles and have always been resilient in our way of living and I have been able to apply that resilience throughout my career,” said LeClair.

 

Ellsworth is LeClair’s first duty station and he discussed how interesting it is to live around other tribes and learn the differences in cultures.

 

“The Air Force has stationed my family in a location that has one of the most Native American populated areas in the country,” said LeClair. “Living in South Dakota I have learned some history about some of the tribes here and it’s been really eye opening on how different our tribes operate.”

 

He continued by saying that he is looking forward to joining organizations on Ellsworth to help spread awareness of his heritage.

 

“Honestly I love being able to tell people that I am Native American,” said LeClair. “People need to know that Native American people are still here and our culture is alive and thriving.”