Semi-annual meeting between Nellis, 17 Native American tribes

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryan T. Guthrie

Lt. Col. Patrick Kolesiak, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, speaks at the semi-annual Native American meeting at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nov. 28, 2018. The discussion ensured tribal members had the latest information and status of the Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement for the NTTR Land Withdrawal, published Oct. 26.

Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., leadership and 17 Native American tribes came together for their semi-annual meeting, visited the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and came to Nellis to celebrate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 28-30.

Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range have historical and cultural value for the tribes; therefore, this meeting was an opportunity to continue the discussion of how to strike a balance between the needs of the Air Force and the preservation of the lands in which it operates.

“We have had an outstanding relationship for the past 22 years with the 17 Native American tribes around the base and the range,” said Col. Cavan K. Craddock, 99th Air Base Wing commander. “It’s an outstanding opportunity for us to get together to work as partners to come up with joint solutions to be better caretakers of the land.”

Native American tribal members, Nellis Air Force Base leadership and base personnel met for a semi-annual meeting at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nov. 28, 2018. Seventeen tribes located around Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range attended the three-day event.

The discussion ensured tribal members had the latest information and status of the Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement for the NTTR Land Withdrawal, published Oct. 26. The Air Force has been proactive in engaging and meeting with tribal partners to understand their concerns about the lands within the NTTR. Likewise, tribal members have provided valuable input to cultural surveys and generating tribal perspectives through ethnographic studies.

Richard Arnold said many generations of Native Americans and many commanders have made sure this partnership has continued and that he wants to see this partnership sustained.

“We work very closely with the Air Force, and the Air Force equally does the same with the tribes,” said Arnold, Nellis AFB Native American program coordinator.
 

Col. Cavan K. Craddock, 99th Air Base Wing commander, and Richard Arnold, Nellis Air Force Base Native American program coordinator, talk at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Nov. 28, 2018. Arnold got the semi-annual Native American
meeting started after sending a letter to the Air Force 22 years ago.