This November, we pay tribute to A Lasting Legacy of the Native American and Indigenous communities at Sodexo during Native American Heritage Month. We celebrate Native American culture, history, art, music, and food.

During November we also celebrate Veterans Day and it is a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on Native Americans’ service in the military. It’s estimated that 25% of Native Americans served in World War 1 and 44,000 served during World War II. In addition, 29 Navajo men created an unbreakable code allowing the U.S. to win the war. Native American service continues to this day. In the past 20 years, 19% of Native Americans have served in the military, against an average of 14% across other racial and ethnic groups.

Native American leadership extends beyond the battlefield to the boardroom. The legacy they leave as part of Sodexo is something I wish to honor this month. Sodexo’s comprehensive Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion strategy focuses at the leadership and grassroots levels.

I appreciate the Native American and Aboriginal Council (NAAC), one of our nine Employee Business Resource Groups. NAAC raises awareness about Native American and Indigenous communities and, through their efforts, provide growth and networking opportunities for Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and allies of these communities in and outside of our workplaces.

Many of the Native American ten commandments align closely with our values, as well as our commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all team members. Showing great respect for fellow beings, working together for the benefit of all humankind, giving assistance and kindness where needed, doing what we know to be right and taking full responsibility of our actions are all ways we can honor the Native American legacy, as well as be good humans and colleagues. 

There are many easy ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. Some simple ideas include visiting an American Indian museum or cultural center (virtually or live as is permitted during the current pandemic), reading a book about Native American history, supporting an Indigenous-owned business, or trying a Native American recipe.

My invitation is for organizations to increase and amplify their efforts so that together, we can accelerate the quality of life for Native Americans every day and everywhere.

Eduard Erbiceanu 
NAAC Executive Sponsor & Sr. Vice President Global Schools

November 05, 2021