The Kappa Sigma Fraternity recognizes Native American Heritage Day today by celebrating the contributions of our Native American Brothers across North America. Brothers of Native American descent are exemplifying the Star and Crescent everyday in their lives, and a prime example is Brother Stephen M. Vest (Mu-Eta, University of Louisville,1983).

Brother Vest serves the Order as our District Grand Master for Greater Kentucky and is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Kentucky Monthly. Brother Vest traces his ancestry to Powhatan at the dawn of the European expansion into North America and is similarly a descendant of Thomas Aerosmith, a member of the Crow Nation who settled in a part of western Virginia that became a part of Kentucky. Clearly, Brother Vest’s ties to the Commonwealth of Kentucky run deep!

Pledging to join the Mu-Eta Chapter at the University of Louisville in the early 80s, Brother Vest entered the 12th Gate in 1983 and is proud of “the way that we’ve embraced diversity and inclusiveness” over the course of the ensuing 40 years. Brother Vest remembers his time as a Kappa Sigma Pledge and was “the most exotic person [at the time]. When the guys from Beta-Nu (University of Kentucky) came down for the Pledging Ceremony, they asked my Pledge Brothers ‘who’s the foreign guy? My family has been in the U.S. and America for as long as I can tell. I thought it was funny. Today, I’d be considered typical [and] it shows how far the Fraternity has come. We are much more inclusive today than we were 30-35 years ago.”

Over his almost four decades as a Brother of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Brother Vest has learned a great deal. One such lesson is one he readily shared with other Brothers:  “There [are]  important lessons in the ritual. And if you actually understand and follow the lessons in the ritual, everything else takes care of itself. You don’t have problems with people paying their dues or acting in certain ways if they truly understand what they’re a part of. We’ve all agreed to live by a certain set of rules and I don’t think this is something that’s restrictive… It’s empowering if you pay attention to it. The other stuff is non-existent or should be.”

Thank you Brother Vest for your leadership, wisdom, and for your dedication to your Brothers! A.E.K.Δ.B.