“It was so bizarre; it really was,” Pratt said. I was glad to be done, but at the same time there was almost an emptiness of I no longer — and I’m going to use this in the broadest sense — but I no longer have a tribe.”
Many other military service members experience this same detachment. In fact, the idea of truly returning home from battle is an historic struggle. Over the centuries, Native American tribes have participated in a ceremony known as “calling home.” During the ceremony, tribe members call to the spirits of warriors.
The Apsaalooke Crow Nation in southeast Montana is a warrior tribe that practices the ceremony, observing it as a sacred, spiritual tradition, where everyone shares the burden.
For the first time in history, the Crow Nation shared this experience with members who were outside the tribe. The ceremony took place at the Intellectual House on the UW campus.
For the Crow Nation, no singular member of the tribe carries the burden of service; it is a shared experience. For Pratt, this is an important concept. Also important is the understanding that veterans are diverse. This is something that Pratt is passionate about including in continued veteran discourse.
“Part of what’s important about being a veteran and being involved is people need to know that veterans come in all shapes, flavors, sizes,” Pratt said. “I don’t want people to assume certain things.”
Pratt is a U.S. Air Force veteran and president of the Husky Veterans on campus. In remembrance of Veteran’s Day, Pratt carried the flag and led the UW football team onto the field at the UW vs. USC home game on November 12.