DVIDS – News – DCSA field office chief recounts military, federal, state and tribal service

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia – Lisa Savoy walks in two worlds and has been for as long as she can remember.

The head of the Counter-Intelligence and Defense Security Agency’s (DCSA) field office in the Alexandria 1 office – who was due to retire in January 2022 – looked on with emotion at his military and government career while recounting his activities and service as a member of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.

“I call it the civilian world and what I do in my native life,” Savoy said. She is an expert in various arts and crafts, producing beads for her tribe since she was in elementary school. “We would have our tribal school on the weekends to learn about our heritage as well as beadwork, dance, arts and crafts. I traveled the east coast with my tribal family to attend powwows where we would see other children like us.

The transition to military service was natural for Savoy and his three tribal cousins ​​who joined different branches of the military. After a year of business school, Savoy’s desire to travel inspired her to enlist in the Air Force as a Morse Code Systems Operator in 1985. Before moving into the civilian world four years later, she traveled across Europe while based in Italy and still remains in touch. with his former Air Force colleagues.

“Sometimes people ask me why I don’t have a tribal tag on my personal vehicle,” said Savoy who displays a military license plate. “I tell them that I was born Native American but that I chose to serve in the army. It was something I had to do to improve myself and help others, especially indigenous children, to see that there is so much we can do in the world to make a contribution to the whole, not just as an individual.

Upon returning to the United States, she began her federal career at the Naval Research Lab before joining the former Defense Security Service for more security opportunities. Savoy immediately re-engaged with his tribe as an active member, eventually serving as commissioner for the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs from 2014 to 2020, to include a leadership role as commission chair for five years.

“As the commissioner, I would brief the tribe on what we were doing at the state level,” Savoy said. “Our request for a secondary tribe, located on the east coast of Maryland, was recognized by the state in 2017. Our commission’s work with the Baltimore and Annapolis Museums included a partnership with a children’s museum in Baltimore in recognition of Native American Heritage Day. “

As a member and chairman of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs, Savoy served the interests of Native American communities in Maryland by assisting in the process of obtaining state and federal recognition in addition to promoting awareness and better understanding of Historical and Contemporary Contributions of Native Americans. She has led efforts to help state, local, and private agencies provide resources to meet the educational, social, and economic needs of Native American communities in the state.

In February, Savoy plans to work on an oral compilation of tribal history with his aunt and former tribal president, Mervin Savoy. “I’m going to sit with her for a few days and walk our tribe as far as she can go for both sides of our family.”

Oral history to get the facts and her aunt’s perspective on the history of the tribe will be documented for the family. “I’m sure we’ll have a discussion about whether or not to release it to the public,” Savoy said. “A publicly released version will be good information, especially for Millennial Indians, and we will remove the personal part. He will get a glimpse of the tribal aesthetic. I’m sure it will cover Lord Calvert’s story as well as different tribal activities and festivals – when we do them and why.

As a keynote speaker for a Native American History Month viewing agency at the Russell-Knox Building in November 2018, Savoy told his audience that the Piscataway Conoy tribe helped Maryland’s first governor, Leonard Calvert, and his crew to survive in 1634 when they arrived after 90 days at sea. Calvert colonized the tribe’s ancestral lands and a Jesuit priest, Father Andrew White, converted the tribe to Catholicism.

At that time, the territory of the Confederacy of Piscataway Conoy tribes stretched from the western shore of Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River watershed in Virginia, and all of the land in the southern tip of St. Mary, Maryland, north to include Baltimore and Washington DC “We have always been in the area walking, talking and living among everyone, although we have not been recognized in many ways over the course. decades and centuries, ”said Savoy.

Additionally, Savoy recounted that in some areas of the country, Native Americans were not allowed to own property.

“We should say it belonged to someone else although we paid for it and lived and worked on it,” she said. “My father’s family, who grew tobacco, owned a lot of land, but they couldn’t say, ‘Hey, this is my land.’ They would have to say they were working for someone else or the state would come and declare that the land cannot be theirs as Native Americans.

Savoy encourages everyone to support or learn more about their local Indigenous communities throughout the year – not just during Native American Heritage Month.

“You will learn the most about the history of a tribe by attending and supporting their powwows or gatherings,” she said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to buy beadwork, arts and crafts, and you can learn to dance. You will understand why we do what we do.

Date taken: 09/11/2021
Date posted: 11.09.2021 18:26
Story ID: 409064
Site: we

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