SANTEE, Neb. — On National Vietnam War Veteran’s Day, the Dakota Santee Sioux Nation honored the Isanti Dakota Ancestors and Vietnam War Veterans.

The ceremony was held at the tribal honoring monuments in the Santee village.

A special honoring was held for Marine Vietnam Veteran Basil Heth Jr. who passed away in September 2023.

The ceremony featured a ceremonial prayer, song, and guest speakers.

He served as a crew chief and gunner for a helicopter in Vietnam.

As one of the most decorated Native American Vietnam veterans, he logged over 1,500 missions and was presented 66 air medals in his service.

Heth’s brother talked about the service he provided to the tribe and to all veterans across the country.

“Up until his passing, he’s always been in service to the people of the tribe…to all veterans,” Heth’s brother Guy Zephier Sr. said.

Zephiar said his brother was honored at the Yankton-Sioux reservation and Heth was given a chief bonnet for the men he saved.

Heth’s total tour was 19 months and 27 days and was forced down by hostile gun fire on two occasions.

Free haircuts were also offered for veterans at Ohiya Casino during the day.