SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — As we reflect on the contributions of veterans, this weekend and year-round, a cultural center is making sure the stories of Native Americans who served this country are not forgotten.

Julia Kelly is the CEO of the Trickster Cultural Center in Schaumburg and a veteran. She said a key part of their mission is to amplify the stories and contributions of Native American veterans.

Kelly mentioned that her reason for going into the military was to escape domestic violence and is proud she can now share her story.

“It’s important for anybody else who’s in the same situation to know that you can come out in front,” Kelly said. “You can be a survivor.”

Kelly spent 28 years in the army and worked her way up to leadership positions.

She joined hundreds travelling to D.C. for Veterans Day to witness the official dedication of the National Native American Veterans memorial on the National Mall.

“It felt really good to be around all of the native Americans from all directions, and you could feel the energy of what has been a long time coming,” Kelly said.

Despite the country’s painful history, the U.S. department of Veteran’s affairs said mainland Native Americans and Alaskan Natives serve in the military at a higher rate than any other group.

“This is our homeland. So, we are going into the military to protect that,” Kelly said.

On Nov. 29, Trickster Cultural Center is hosting a celebration for Native American Heritage Month.

For more information: Native American Indian Cultural Center Chicago Illinois | Trickster Cultural Center