In Sioux Falls, the Native American Day parade is gaining momentum in it’s second year. The parade features Native singing and dancing, but also plenty of patriotism.
Nearly 30 students from the Flandreau Indian School marched in formation at the front of Monday’s Native American Day parade. Storm Aguirre joined the junior ROTC program because of thinking about a career in the military.
“I want to march for our people. I have a lot of family that enlisted in different branches of the military,” said JROTC member, Storm Aguirre.
The leader of the Flandreau brigade says more students took part in the parade this year. He says he’s proud of the hard work they put in to get here.
“Discipline. Being able to do something really well. Showing that discipline that you can do that is something that’s almost missing in our society today, so that attention to detail and they did an awesome job on attention to detail today,” said Christopher Van Briesen from the Flandreau Indian School.
Van Briesen is glad his JROTC students are a good role model for younger kids watching the parade.
“And for the little kids to see that, I think means a lot, that’s something that they can look forward to. When they see something done really well, saying I could do that and I could probably do it really well,” said Van Briesen.
“It’s nice being a role model for them. I like that feeling,” said Aguirre.
But not all of the role models are in the parade. Sophia and Holly Song Hawk came dressed in their own Native clothing.
“I have a skirt that my grandma made me and these are my sister’s otters,” Sophia Song hawk says.
“It’s our heritage. It’s our culture. We need to pass these things onto to our children and set an example that this is who we are, this is who we came from and be proud of who you are. Wear your traditional clothing and your regalia and dance and sing and just be more active and participate,” said Holly Song Hawk.
More people did participate this year, both in the parade and on the sidelines.
“It’s gotten bigger and I think next year will be even bigger. Seeing groups from Rapid City and Chamberlain and other places across the state is awesome,” said Van Briesen.
“Ya, it’s a good feeling seeing a whole bunch of different people and it’s like in a way, we’re all related,” said Aguirre.