As a U.S. Marine how can I stay close to my home traditions when they are not offered at my current duty station?

Hello Auntie, My Name is Ongelic Johnson, I am Muckleshoot, Cherokee and Cowlitz. I am also a United States Marine and my question is: How can i stay close to my home traditions when they are not offered at my current duty station, as far as attending pow wows and going to church, like back at home?

First and foremost…you are Muckleshoot, Cherokee and Cowlitz. Your three tribes roots are buried deeper in your soul than you know. Traditions, prayers, songs of your people are with you wherever you go. No one can change nor take that away from you. That is who you are. I think you are on a great path that will help you in so many ways and not just at your station. Let’s see where we can begin.

Keeping in touch with family can be a way to stay close to home traditions. You come from a diversity of three different tribes and your family or people who play an important role in your life may have taught you to balance that out. It seems like pow wows were a way of expressing and being among your people all at one location. Your family can share stories, the dances and the songs that were all a part of that gathering. Even asking them to send you some songs can help you be in touch with your traditions. You may also be a dancer yourself and expressing your ways can help you feel close to home.

You also mention attending church. Remembering your prayers is another way to stay close to home traditions. Finding a place at your station or somewhere you feel resembles your church, can allow you to exercise your teachings. Adapting to your surroundings at your station, to what works for you to exercise your cultural values, can help you connect with your traditions.

You are a protector of this great country. More importantly, a protector of your people. That is also a form of ceremony in and of itself. Remember who you are and where you come from. It will give you a sense of direction and help you overcome any obstacles you may face.

Good Luck.


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