The story below is very characteristic of the Indians in the Southwest. They are the most patriotic people, even though they have some legitimate grievances against the US Government.
What we’ve learned is the Pueblos and Reservations have two governments. The public government is made of an elected Governor, Lt. Governor and council. They deal with matters that involve relationships with the outside world.
The other government is the traditional Chief system where Elders are put in positions of War Chiefs with age, experience and wisdom being characteristics that are honored by the tribes. Given they don’t fight us anymore, Indian men gain their warrior credentials by serving in the US Military.
The most notable of these are the World War II Code Talkers who are slowly dying out. Indians have served with honor in almost all of our wars.
At Pow-wows, they do a traditional Gourd Dance to honor the warriors/veterans in the tribe. The men dance in a circle and, shortly after they start, the women form a circle behind them and dance quietly in honor of their men.
War chiefs today are selected by their tribes since the old way is no longer possible in today’s world.