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Military veterans in Las Vegas helping to keep Buffalo Soldiers legacy alive

Posted at 8:22 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:42:32-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There’s an important chapter of our country’s history that many people aren’t too familiar with.

That’s why the Southern Nevada Chapter of the 9th and 10th Horse Calvary is doing what they can to make sure people know the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.

“Just hate to be left out of history, you want to be part of history,” said Willy Henry a military veteran.

Henry along with Keith Hill, Mitchell Sayles and Jon Jon say they do what they can to maintain the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Before the pandemic, they would go to schools and parades to teach people about the role Buffalo Soldiers had in shaping our country.

“The Buffalo Soldiers did a lot to open up the West frontier, coming out with a lot of Indians,” Mitchel Sayles said. “They build forts, they strung telegraph lines. In the stagecoach, they carried the mail. They did a lot of important things that history is never told.”

In 1866, the 9th and 10th Calvary were created. They were made up of Black troops who were mainly freed slaves and led by white men.

“If it wasn’t for the Buffalo Soldiers they wouldn’t have been able to settle out here,” Jon Jon said.

The group traveled through places like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and they also explored and mapped large areas.

The 9th and 10th Calvary along with the 24th and 25th infantry regiment, also comprised of Buffalo Soldiers helped build the West and made it safe to expand.

“Native Americans call them Buffalo Soldiers because of their fierce determination. Their hair was curly and it reminded them of a buffalo,” Hill said. “The Native Americans held the buffalo in high regard so the troops took that moniker on as the Buffalo Soldiers.”

It’s also believed the Native Americans whom the Buffalo Soldiers fought against, gave them this nickname out of respect because of their strong fighting ability.

Currently, Keith, Mitchel, Willy and Jon say they are focused on sharing what they is the forgotten pages in history with as many people as they can.

“We have to keep history alive and so people can understand the importance and the role that African Americans played in the development of the West,” Hill said. “And if we don't tell our story then our story won't be told.”