National American Indian Heritage Month: Airman 1st Class Tia Tsinnie

Airman 1st Class Tia Tsinnie

Airman 1st Class Tia Tsinnie, Business and Enterprise System Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Amy Rollins)

 WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- November is National American Indian Heritage Month – a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of native people. This year’s theme is “Standing Together.”

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is observing the month with profiles of individuals who exemplify the core values of diversity and respect and help meet the Air Force mission.

Airman 1st Class Tia Tsinnie

Administration Support, Program Control Office, Business and Enterprise System Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

Time working at Wright-Patterson AFB: This is her first duty assignment and she has been stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB since May 2016.

Why she enlisted: She needed help continuing her college education as she found it was expensive to go to school. She completed three semesters at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.

Ancestry/tribal background: Full Navajo. Her first clan is Todich’ii’nii, Bitter Water Clan; her second clan is Tachii’nii, Red Running into the Water Clan; her third clan is ‘Áshįįhi, Salt People Clan; and her fourth clan is Totsohnii, Big Water Clan.

Cultural information: Tsinnie grew up in Rough Rock, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation and speaks a little Navajo. She finds her language to be beautiful but very complex. She said while she is not religious, she is a traditional person. “I follow my heritage rather than western/modern ways,” she said. She enjoys the traditional ceremonies, seasonal celebrations, superstitions, dances and taboos of her people. “I continue to be observant,” she said. An example is Tsinnie’s practice during the recent solar eclipse. She took leave to sit at home, at that time one of the base dormitories, in a darkened room, to be peaceful and quiet, not eat or drink, and reflect positively on life in the future. “It is a time of renewal for us,” she said.

Interesting fact: She is a twin and is older by one minute. Her sister, Airman 1st Class Cajsa Tsinnie, also serves in the Air Force, stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.