Celebrating Native American Heritage Month in Gallup

Celebrating You

Walmart store 906 honors their community and associates with a celebration featuring five local tribes.

Marcie at a Native American Heritage Month festival surrounded by a group of people

The Walmart supercenter in Gallup, New Mexico, was the ideal place to kick off Native American Heritage Month in early November 2023. After all, Store 906 is home to one of our Native American store managers: the inspiring Marcie Bird. And the 500 associates who work in the store include members from five local tribes.

Marcie on a stage with John Furner during Shareholders meeting

Marcie, who’s been featured on The Huddle with John Furner and on the stage at Associates Week, takes great pride in her Navajo history, calling herself a “rez girl.” She made it her career goal to get back to Gallup and work at her hometown Walmart. “It’s a dream come true to be home and see my mom every night!”

Shining a light on her team

But if you ask Marcie, she’ll tell you that she’s had enough of the Walmart spotlight. She really wanted this celebration to be about her team and her community.

Talking before the celebration, Marcie shared, “I want to showcase how hard my associates work every day to care for their community — even though many of them go home after their shift to keep working hard as they care for their elders, family members and cattle.”

She added that she wants to thank her community and customers. “Some of our customers travel up to an hour to shop at our Supercenter and get their essentials at low prices.”

Douglas smiling in front of the camera in the garden section of a Walmart store

Douglas Benally, an associate who’s been with Walmart for eight years, says he appreciates how the event celebrated native associates and community members. “There aren’t that many stores that have this many native associates and I think it’s really cool that they’re celebrating us.”

Gallup is on the edge of the Navajo tribe reservation and home to many other tribe members, including Hopi and Zuni.

female associate smiling in front of the camera in the garden section of a Walmart store

For associate Kylynn McCray, the day was about these tribes gathering. “I love seeing all the native people come together. Everybody dressed in traditional outfits — that’s very lovely. All different cultures, they all have something unique, and it’s beautiful. I’m proud to be indigenous.”

Colorful native clothing and jewelry was on display as associates performed traditional dances. And across the event, you could hear various native languages. 

“We teach each other different languages,” Kylynn shares with a smile. “We laugh when we try to pronounce the words.”

For Doug, communicating in his native language is an important part of his job. “We have so many customers who come in who are Navajo and also elderly. So they may not be fluent in English. So I see it as my job to help those customers navigate the store and find everything they want.”

As she walks the store, Marcie makes a point of greeting her Navajo customers in their language, ensuring they feel welcome.

photo of a group of Native American traditional dancers

We can’t think of a better way to honor Native American Heritage Month than by celebrating the Native American associates who serve and support their local community.

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