| Program: || Native American Intertribal Council, Kennedy Space Center, FL |
| Contact(s): || Kenny Aguilar, Director, Kennedy Space Center Equal Opportunity Program Office: (407) 867-2307 |
| Purpose: || To promote the value of diversity and share the cultural activities of the different Native American tribes |
The Kennedy Space Center Native American Intertribal Council (NAIC) traces its roots back to 1988, when a handful of Native Americans working at the center began getting together on a regular basis to share their heritage. It was not long before a need was realized to extend membership to all Native Americans on the center, in order to provide them with an opportunity to share native heritage, further cultural exchange and foster personal growth through an exchange of heritage values with others.
The Intertribal Council meets once a month for an informal brown bag lunch. These meetings give members a chance to share their heritage and make connections with other Native Americans working at Kennedy. The Council has extended its activities to include outreach both on the Center and in the community. In November of 1996, the Council arranged for the head of the Comanche nation to present an authentic Comanche flag to the director of the Kennedy Space Center. The flag flew into space in January of 1997, and was later re-presented to the Comanche tribe. Every year the Council sets up a booth at Kennedy's All-American Picnic. About 5,000 people attend this event, designed to let different cultures display their customs. In 1998, the Council set up an educational booth in which members demonstrated flute playing, carving and bead making skills, among others. The NAIC Demonstration Pow Wow, held on the first Monday in November, is the most-attended project held by the NAIC to promote American Indian cultures. A major focus of the Pow Wow is to involve not only employees of Kennedy Space Center, but to share the activities with the local community and those visitors from around the world who come to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This educational event features drummers, dancers, storytellers and artisans from many tribal cultures, and gives those attending an opportunity to enjoy the activities while learning about some Native American traditions and the diverse mix of tribal culture within the community of the American Indians. The storytellers gather groups of children around and share tribal stories that have been handed down from generation to generation. The dancers participate in their native regalia and invite the public to join them in dance.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The Native American Intertribal Council publishes an informal newsletter called "The Talking Leaf," which is distributed to a membership list of about 60 people. Those 60 members include both NASA employees and contractors at the KSC. During the course of the Council's Pow Wow, over 2,000 people are exposed to the cultural event by observing the program. As a result of the Pow Wow, requests from public schools for Native American speakers have increased, as well as requests for visitations and participation in school programs.