CRANE, Ind. – For the past 27 years, Kristin Pedigo and her family have attended the Tecumseh Lodge Annual Pow Wow at the Tipton Indiana fairgrounds. A pow wow is a gathering where Native American dancing, singing, and celebration take place. Several different pow wows are organized throughout the country.
Pedigo has served as a civilian in the Navy for nearly 20 years and is currently a Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Logistics Lead at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane). Pedigo, who grew up in Indiana, says the Annual Pow Wow she attends with her family helps her learn something new each year about her Native American heritage.
“While this is mostly a Cherokee Pow Wow, there have been many other tribes that have traveled the country to attend this event over the years,” says Pedigo. “There is a circle set up where the drummers and singers set up for the dances. There are many dances that take place during the weekend for various reasons, some to honor our veterans, some to honor a loved one that has passed, and some to celebrate new life, just to name a few.”
Pedigo started her career at Crane as a student intern over the summer.
“I transitioned to a few different jobs at Crane and finished my Bachelor’s Degree,” says Pedigo. “I started as an electronics technician and ended up in logistics. I spent ten years at this command.”
Then, Pedigo was diagnosed with cancer.
“I went through it -- I was ok,” says Pedigo. “When you receive that news, your outlook changes. I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to move.’”
After going through treatment and becoming healthy, Pedigo transitioned to work directly with sailors at a Navy command in Virginia Beach on the east coast.
“It has been really rewarding working in the Department of Defense (DoD),” says Pedigo. “Not only can you learn about a wide variety of jobs and roles, but it is easy to transfer. There are so many opportunities in the DoD; it helps with college, provides learning opportunities, and offers programs for school. They are there to build you up and we are there to provide support to the warfighter.”
Pedigo says that the organization as well as the workforce support you in your success.
“Throughout my 19 years, I’ve always worked with people who care about each other. People ask how you are doing and how they can help you. We are here to watch each other succeed and grow – it’s a community. It’s nice to know someone has your back.”
Pedigo, who this year transferred back to Crane after nine years in Virginia Beach, says her experience working alongside service members was eye opening.
“When you work in an office, it may be hard to see the direct impact you have on sailor’s lives,” says Pedigo. “When I worked in Virginia Beach on ships with the sailors, I saw how everything I did at Crane affects warfighters. You may think what you do doesn’t matter, but you are making a huge impact. I know who is depending on me.”
Pedigo says one thing that is important professionally, as well as with her job at Crane, is to connect with people.
“You never know what knowledge or information might be needed. Don’t be afraid to reach out – don’t be afraid to ask questions. Throughout my career it’s been important. Some may be surprised that we work so closely with an Air Force base in Utah. In my role at Crane, I serve as a liaison and network people between the Air Force base in Utah and Crane so people can more easily accomplish the mission.”
Pedigo also brings people together in her family. One of the ways her family stays connected is engaging in history at the annual pow wow.
“Multiple vendors called traders come from all over the country to trade and sell Native American items, and it’s just another opportunity to learn so much about the rich history. Although the elders are getting older, many of my family still dress in traditional or Cherokee tear dresses. There are many Pow Wows in Indiana, but this one in particular is a great opportunity to camp or just come for a day and learn about Native American History and traditions as well as see the dances and hear the drumming and singing in person. I invite anyone interested in Native American History to attend a Pow Wow.”
About NSWC Crane
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