Chief Master Sgt. Garth Meade Jr., 42nd Air Base Wing command chief master sergeant, takes aim during an archery demonstration as part of Maxwell's National American Indian Heritage Month celebration on Nov. 18.
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
11/23/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al -- The equal opportunity office, in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Bass Pro Shop, hosted an archery clinic and demonstration at Maxwell celebrating National American Indian Heritage Month Nov. 18.
The clinic allowed participants to experience a key part of Native American history, according to Capt. Carlos Bersabe, the deputy division chief for communication lessons at Squadron Officer School and a volunteer for the base's Native American heritage committee.
"When I was stationed in North Dakota, I got to learn a lot about the affiliated (American Indian) tribes in the area. One of the things I learned about their culture is how much they love the outdoors. It isn't just a pastime for them, it was a life style," he said. "Since we're celebrating National American Indian heritage month, I thought it would be fitting to celebrate the outdoors in America through archery, since that was the primary means of obtaining meat."
The event featured instructors from Bass Pro Shop and the Department of Conservation who allowed people to try their hand at target shooting with compound bows.
Col. Susan Schlacter, the 42nd Air Base Wing vice commander, was excited to learn to use the bow.
"It was really fun. I had never done that before, and I really enjoyed is," she said. "It wasn't as difficult as I expected. I expected the amount of tension would be hard, but that wasn't as difficult as keeping your aim on target."
While these events provide an opportunity for Airmen to have fun together, it also gives them an opportunity to learn about one another, according to Bersabe.
"The United States is so diverse, and there are so many different cultures that we celebrate. I think it's important to celebrate, not just [National American Indian] Heritage Month, but all different cultures. Having that understanding of other people groups allows us to be better citizens," Bersabe said. "I'm very honored to participate in this event. I feel that it's a privilege to be able to share the outdoors and celebrate the heritage of our great nation, and I hope we can do this again next year."