New veterans association bringing back old Broken Arrow Pow Wow this weekend
(BROKEN ARROW, Okla.) Broken Arrow Intertribal Veteran’s Association is bringing the Broken Arrow Pow Wow back with a purpose after nearly thirty years.
BAIVA Vice President Michael Coon told VNN the event is being held to honor veterans, especially this generation of military men and women, returning from warzones after as many as nine deployments due to the pandemic.
“That builds up on a person’s character after a while, of being in a war zone,” Coon said. “The public has to realize how much in jeopardy they’re putting their life, and their health, and their mental health, on the line for us. So we can have these events. Freedom of speech. Churches, elections, and stuff like that. Schooling. A lot of the public forgets how much these veterans have sacrificed for us. And this is our way of giving back and saying thank you. Thank you, brother. Welcome home.”
All veterans are welcome and encouraged to take part in the pow wow, Indigenous or not, to connect with those they have lost.
“We want for them to dance within the circle of life,” Coon said. “Where they’re dancing with their battle buddies, their spirt is there beside them as we go around the arena. They’re with them. And they get that closure when they hear the drums. And they hear the songs, when we do the memorial song, the warrior song, the flag song.”
Coon, who served in Vietnam, is the second of three generations of Muscogee Creek Nation warriors.
His father was a Death March survivor and prisoner of war during World War II.
Coon said the powwow will honor one of the 20 silhouettes that make up the Mission 22 War at Home National Memorial each year.
His son, Staff Sergeant Michael K. Coon, will get the honor this weekend.
Staff Sergeant Coon served in the Army for ten years and was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf. He succumbed to PTSD by taking his own life in 2015.
Coon said they started BAIVA earlier this year to provide resources to local veterans struggling with PTSD and other problems that come with serving.
“They’ve lost some in battle,” Coon said. “They’ve lost some after they’ve come back home to disease, to PTSD, veteran suicide. Just all types of tragedies when they come home. Broken homes after they come home.”
Native American Leaders and Honor Guards from across the country are expected to join the all-day 3-day event, which begins at 2 p.m. on Friday at Events Park, located at 21101 E 101st Street.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideation, call or text 988. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.
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