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Team Little Rock explores Native American culture

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

Service members begin the trip to Rock House Cave during a trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. The group explored parts of the park believed to have historical value to Native American history and culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

A piece of iron is passed around a group of service members during a trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. It is believed that the Native Americans used iron pigment in artwork. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

Airman Carly Christensen, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron apprentice, enjoys Petit Jean State Park during a trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. The group spent several hours exploring the area, learning about the impact the Native American’s had and still have in Arkansas culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

Matt Manos, Petit Jean State Park interpreter, explains the different paintings seen in the Rock House Cave to service members trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. Manos guided service members on a hike to Rock House Cave, a formation of rocks stacked upon each other with artwork from Native American’s visible on them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

Matt Manos, Petit Jean State Park interpreter, casts light on a cave painting trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. Archaeologists believe the ancient artwork is more than 1,000 years old. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

Service members make their way down a hiking trail Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. In appreciation of Native American Heritage Month, 12 Team Little Rock members visited Petit Jean State, a trip hosted by the 19th Airlift Wing Military Equal Opportunity Office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

A service member views the scenery during a day trip commemorating Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. The Native Americans who occupied the region fished its rivers and lakes and hunted its forest and lands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

A photo depicting a trip to Petit Jean State Park in appreciation of Native American Heritage Month.

A Native American painting is highlighted during a trip to commemorate Native American Heritage Month Nov. 3, 2017, at Petit Jean State Park, Ark. Although the paintings have faded with time, they are well-preserved and still visible with the use of a flashlight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Arkansas’ first inhabitants knew well the rich resources and beauty of the land which has earned the name The Natural State. The Native Americans who occupied the region fished its rivers and lakes and hunted its forest and lands - just as we can today.

In appreciation of Native American Heritage Month, 12 Team Little Rock members visited Petit Jean State Park Nov. 3, 2017, a trip hosted by the 19th Airlift Wing Military Equal Opportunity Office. The group explored parts of the park believed to have historical value to Native American history and culture. 

“Events like this are important because they give reminders of heritage and inform and educate people who may not be familiar with a particular culture,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Wilson, 19th AW MEO office advisor.

A park ranger guided the group on a hike to Rock House Cave, a formation of rocks stacked upon each other with artwork from Native American’s visible on them.

Archaeologists believe the ancient artwork is more than 1,000 years old, according to Matt Manos, Petit Jean State Park interpreter.

Although the paintings have faded with time, they are well-preserved and still visible with the use of a flashlight.

“Knowing where you come from is important,” said Senior Airman Letyraial Cunningham, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering journeyman and Native American Committee member. “Bringing awareness to the Native American culture, traditions and who we are has always been important to me.”

The group spent several hours exploring the area, learning about the impact the Native American’s had and still have in Arkansas culture. For more information about activities in the Natural State, visit Arkansas.com.

For more information about special observance events, contact the 19th AW MEO office at (501) 987-8629.