Washington, DC - The Navy joins the nation in celebrating American Indians and Native Alaskans during National American Indian and Native Alaskan Heritage Month throughout the month of November.

ALNAV 006/17 encourages participation in all the heritage celebrations and special observances throughout the year. This year, Navy commands are encouraged to celebrate and reflect on the theme "Standing Together."

Since 1994, the observance month has recognized American Indians and Native Alaskans for their respect of natural resources and the Earth, having served with valor in our nation's conflicts, and for their many distinct and important contributions to the United States. Today, there are a total of 566 Federally recognized tribes in the United States of America.

American Indians and Native Alaskans have served honorably in the United States Navy for more than 200 years. Their contributions to the strength and security of our Nation attests the rich legacy of the first Americans.

During the 20th century, three Sailors of American Indian and Native Alaskan heritage received the Medal of Honor - including Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans, Lt. Michael Thorton, and Boatswain's mate 1st Class James Williams.

Our One Navy Team is made up of American Indian and Native Alaskan Sailors and civilians. More than 9,000 American Indian and Native Alaskan Sailors hold nearly every job from naval aviator to deep-sea diver. There are more than 2,000 American Indian and Native Alaskan civilians working for the Department of the Navy.

A diverse workforce positions the Navy to operate successfully around the globe by bringing together Sailors and civilians with different ideas, experiences, perspectives, capabilities and skill sets. Integrating Sailors and civilians from diverse backgrounds into the force allows the Navy to recruit and retain the nation's top talent from a vast pool of skilled personnel.

The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute provides printable posters, presentation, guidance for organizing observance, and education facts on their website, http://www.deomi.org/ under the section "Special Observances."