KC Cole in Native Currents. Discussion »
ADA, OKLAHOMA This year marks a milestone in space exploration - the 10th anniversary of the first Native American in space. Commander John Herrington is one of many Oklahoma heroes who helped to catapult Oklahoma into the space age.
Commander John Herrington, a Native Oklahoman &
Herrington, Chickasaw, became the first American Indian in space in November 2002 during his mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
He served as the flight engineer during the mission to the International Space Station, where he logged more than 330 hours in space, of which nearly 20 hours were spent performing spacewalks.
He is one of many Oklahoma sons and daughters selected for the United States space program. Born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, Herrington honored his heritage by carrying the Chickasaw Nation flag on his historic trip to the stars in November of 2002.
Today, Commander Herrington continues to be an inspiration to youth of all walks of life. As a motivational speaker to young people, he encourages them to pursue their education.
“What I want to promote to kids is that if there is something that you like to do, what is natural and fun, the studying is secondary,”
said Commander Herrington.
“It happens - it makes it that much easier to study.”
Pearl Carter Scott with the plaque she received
for induction to the Chickasaw Hall of Fame
Pearl Scott Carter of Marlow, Okla., was among the first women pilots and the youngest pilot in the United States with her first flight in 1929, under the tutelage of legendary aviator Wiley Post. She later worked as a stunt pilot and barnstormer until ending her career to focus on her children and family.
Pearl has been inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame, The International Woman's Air and Space Museum Hall of Fame and is a charter member of the National Museum of American Indian at the Smithsonian.
For the Chickasaw Nation, these two dynamic Oklahoman personalities blazed trails that many have followed, and they continue to influence the tribe. Building on Oklahoma's and tribal member's success, the Chickasaw Nation has many educational programs that encourage today's youth in the aerospace industry.
The Chickasaw Nation Aviation and Space Academy was established in the summer of 2003. Using hands-on flying simulators, building rockets and a mentor-based curriculum that culminates in flying a plane, CNASA motivates students to pursue careers in science and technology.
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KC Cole is the communications officer for the Chickasaw Nation.
posted October 30, 2012 11:10 am edt