Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin


With the largest percentage of military veterans of any ethnic group in this country, Native Americans place special significance on the Fourth of July. "We take pride in this land as a gift from God,'' said veteran Mike Peltier of Oneida. "We take pride in our warrior heritage. Independence Day holds deep meaning for us.'' The tribe celebrated its participation in the American Revolution at its 28th annual Fourth of July weekend pow wow. It "is a good chance for us to see family we haven't seen for a while and to celebrate our culture. With many Oneidas living off the reservation, it's good for people to come back home,'' Peltier said. Stan Latender, a member of the Menominee, said he brings his family from Neopit each year for the pow wow. The event is the perfect opportunity to reflect on both the birth of the United States and Native Americans' singular place in it, said tribal chairman Gerald Danforth. "We certainly have been independent for many, many years,'' he said. "And while we're a nation, we exist within another nation. The freedom we all share is due, in part, to the help of Native Americans. So we've all helped (the U.S.) grow into what it is today."