Navy Veteran, Lakota Woman Warrior
Her hair is plaited neatly in two French braids. Her eagle plumes are tied into a piece of hair on top of her head, making them lay gracefully over the left braid. Each braid is wrapped in red cloth with beaded blue hair ties; dentalium shells are attached to each end. She is wearing a red United Women's Veterans Association long sleeve shirt, a blue ribbon skirt she made herself, beaded blue leggings and moccasins.
Danielle DeCoteau, Navy veteran and a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe, is in Denver for the 44th Annual Denver March Powwow. She carries the U.S. flag for the Lakota Women Warriors, a Native American veterans group. DeCoteau served in the U.S. Navy from 2001 to 2004 on active duty, then from 2005 to 2011 in the Navy Reserves as an aviation boatswain's mate (fuel).
The Lakota Women Warriors and two other women's Native American veteran groups make up the United Women's Veterans Association. Together with the Native American Women Warriors, the association members carried the colors for each grand entry at the Denver March Powwow, held March 23 to 25, 2018.
"Joining the military was tradition, and it's our duty as Natives to protect our lands and our people. We are known as Akicita, which means 'warriors' or 'protectors,'" said DeCoteau. "It's an honor to be a veteran, serving this country and protecting the lands that are ours. If we can't protect this land, how are we going to protect the people? And being part of the warrior society, it's a part of who we are to protect our people, our land, and it goes for the same for any other nationality that lives within this country.