Spokane Tribal Member Sergeant First Class Michael Sebastian received the Bronze Star Medal for “exceptionally meritorious service” while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq between September 2010 and September 2011. Sebastian is a platoon sergeant with the 34th Engineering Co.
Sebastian received the Bronze Star for his actions when his patrol came to the aid of another patrol that had been attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade. As the platoon leader, Sebastian quickly established communications, enabling another unit to pursue and detain 17 suspects. Sebastian was credited for saving many lives for his quick thinking and tactical awareness.
Sebastian received a phone call from Kristy Hamby from the Lilac Festival Committee asking if he would be interested in being an Honorary Grand Marshal for this year's Armed Forces Torchlight Parade. (Related: Spokane Tribal Warriors Ride in the 2013 Armed Forces Torchlight Parade). He agreed to the request with one condition: that the Spokane Tribe of Indians and their veterans could participate directly behind him. Sebastian who is very humble in his accomplishments commented on what this request meant to him. He stated, “It really meant a lot. I've said before that I only agreed to do it so I could represent my family, the Spokane Tribe and our Native Veterans, not just for myself.To be the one chosen to do it, again, meant a lot to me and I hope I represented well and didn't let anyone down. It was a great honor being out in front leading the tribe and the horsemen. I still think there's probably someone more deserving than me, but it was an honor that I was chosen. This was something that is very special. My daughter Madeleine was able to ride in the parade with me and meet Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, City of Spokane Mayor Condon and Washington State Senator Maria Cantwell. I'm sure it is something she'll remember for the rest of her life and the same goes for me. I won't forget it and will cherish the chance I had to represent the Tribe.”
It was important for Michael to have his tribe with him. He believed that it wasn’t just all about him. He said, “It was awesome to have the drum and dancers, as well as the horsemen involved. Even if it was just for a glimpse into the past seeing our singers, dancers, and warriors along the banks of the Spokane like it used to be.”
This event had a purely positive impact on the Spokane Tribe of Indians. They are a proud people with a rich heritage that was shown in the streets of their original homeland along the banks of the Spokane River with the warrior riders, drummers, singers, dancers and just celebrating who they are as a people.
Michael is the son of Genevieve Sebastian, of Wellpinit, Washington, and Robert Trottier, of Columbia Falls, Montana. He resides in Honolulu, Hawaii with his wife Cherie and daughter Maddie.