Vets honored at O’odham Veterans Celebration in District 5

Emma Hughes 

Gila River Indian News


Tribal veterans and families gathered once again for the annual O’odham Veteran’s Celebration that was held on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the District 5 Multipurpose Building. The event was originally scheduled to be held in District 7 but due to unforeseen circumstances, the event was moved to District 5.


Community member Delane Enos gave a blessing to start the event, a welcome from District 5 Councilman Thomas White, and students from St. Peter Mission School sang the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance. Information vendors were on site to assist veterans and their families, including Veterans and Families Services Office, Gila River Health Care – Behavioral Health,  Huhugam Heritage Center, Tucson and Phoenix Veterans Association, Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Southern Arizona V.A. Health Care System Native American Program,  and more to explain what they do and what resources and services they have to offer.


Mike Leon from the Veterans Association gave a presentation on their “healing garden,” a garden that is aimed to help veterans with PTSD. The O’odham Veterans Celebration has been working with Leon and have created a “healing staff” made from a tree in the garden.


The staff has been traveling with the O’odham Veterans to different events that they have been a part of, to share with veterans who might want to add anything to the staff before it’s return to the garden.

During the event Douglas Juan, Chairman of the O’odham Veterans Celebration, presented a flag to the Pee Posh Veterans Association for their building.


“It’s a lot of work. It’s not about us, it’s for the ones that need help,” said Juan, who discussed the event and planning. The next annual O’odham Veterans Celebration is planned to be held in District 4. For more information you can contact Juan at (602) 327-5973