DeWayne does not fit the stereotypical mold of a Native American. While embracing his heritage, he met challenges given his fair complexion.
“It is difficult to represent a culture that I don’t look like I should be a part of,” he said.
DeWayne is a fifth-generation Native American on the maternal side of his family. As a teenager, his great aunt conducted genealogy research on his family. Through the Dawes Roll — a citizenship census for Native American tribes of 101,000 names dating from 1898–1914 — DeWayne learned his great-great-great-grandfather was Native American. This research led him to apply for and receive an official U.S. document certifying his Native American ancestry — 1/128th to be exact — allowing him to apply for citizenship with the Chickasaw tribe.
In addition to his Native American citizenship, DeWayne has access to many benefits with the Chickasaw Nation. The Chickasaw Nation offers different services in the areas of education grants and scholarships.
“Going back to school is an example of one of the Chickasaw’s core values — perseverance,” he said. “We will never quit; we have a warrior tradition.”
He says Caterpillar’s core values are like those of the Chickasaw tribe, which includes integrity and teamwork.
“Having these values instilled in me growing up made it easier to be a Caterpillar employee,” he said.