your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
History: Choctaw soldiers used language to send secret codes

Filed Under: National
More on: choctaw, code talkers, languages, oklahoma, wars

Choctaw Nation Code Talkers. Photo from Choctaw Code Talkers Association

The History Network explains how members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma served as Code Talkers during World War I:
One main problem for the Allies was the Germans’ ability to listen in on their communications and to break their codes, which were generally based on either European languages or mathematical progressions. “We couldn’t keep anything secret,” Allen said. An apocryphal story spread around that a German once interrupted a U.S. Signal Corps member sending a message to taunt his use of code words. Sending out human runners proved equally ineffective, since about one in four were captured or killed. And other methods of communications, such as color-coded rockets, electronic buzzers and carrier pigeons, were too limiting, too slow, too unreliable or a combination thereof.

Soon after the Meuse-Argonne campaign got underway, a company commander in the 36th Division reportedly happened to overhear two of his soldiers conversing in Choctaw. In a flash, he recognized the military potential of the language, essentially unknown to the Germans, and persuaded his superiors to post a Choctaw speaker at various field company headquarters. On October 26, 1918, the Choctaws were put to use for the first time as part of the withdrawal of two companies from the front. Having completed this mission without mishap, they then played a major role the following two days in an attack on a strongly fortified German position called Forest Ferme. “The enemy’s complete surprise is evidence that he could not decipher the messages,” Colonel A.W. Bloor later wrote in an official report. The tide of battle turned within 24 hours, according to Bloor, and within 72 hours the Allies were on full attack.

At least 19 Choctaws subsequently completed a short training session. Lacking the words for certain modern-day military terms, they used “big gun” for artillery, “little gun shoot fast” for machine gun, “stone” for grenade and “scalps” for casualties, among other substitutions, thereby becoming true code talkers rather than simply communications operators speaking a little-known language. “They create these code words, but they don’t actually get to use them because the war ends on the 11th [of November],” Meadows said. Even so, Colonel Bloor described the results of the training session as “very gratifying.” “It is believed, had the regiment gone back into the line, fine results would have been obtained,” he declared. “We were confident the possibilities of the telephone had been obtained without its hazards.”

Get the Story:
World War I’s Native American Code Talkers (The History Network 5/29)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Honor the sacrifices of Navajo Code Talker Tom Jones (5/19)
Choctaw Nation soldiers served as Code Talkers in world wars (5/19)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Supreme Court agrees to hear Omaha Reservation boundary case (10/2)
BIA proclaims another 104 acres as reservation of Shakopee Tribe (10/2)
Native Sun News: Court hears case over soil farm near Pine Ridge (10/2)
Clara Caufield: The ups and downs of growing up as a 'half-breed' (10/2)
Steven Newcomb: Doctrine of domination hinders tribal land claim (10/2)
Ian Zabarte: Western Shoshone territory in Nevada is not for sale (10/2)
Sam Campbell: Catholic Church continues to celebrate genocide (10/2)
Maia Szalavitz: Stereotypes about Native Americans and alcohol (10/2)
Dartmouth removes director of Native program after controversy (10/2)
Guilty pleas for shootings of Indian men in Wyoming border town (10/2)
Santa Clara Pueblo seeks payment for use of land for utility lines (10/2)
Chairman of Mashantucket Tribe seeks another term on council (10/2)
Pro and Con: Lytton Band land-into-trust and development plan (10/2)
Chukchansi Tribe heads to vote as casino closure hits one year (10/2)
Spokane Tribe still waiting for answer on off-reservation casino (10/2)
Coquille Tribe awaits next step in bid for off-reservation casino (10/2)
Ione Band of Miwok Indians continues with long quest for casino (10/2)
Cobell scholarship fund now boasts nearly $30M from settlement (10/1)
Changes to Navajo Nation water rights settlement signed into law (10/1)
Alaska Native health corporation secures transfer of IHS property (10/1)
Judge rejects challenges to Ione Band land-into-trust application (10/1)
Native Sun News: Lakota Code Talker captured Nazi flag in WWII (10/1)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Onondaga Nation brings honor to us all (10/1)
Ivan F. Star Comes Out: Tribes paid dearly for all that 'free' stuff (10/1)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe reports strong interest in pot resort (10/1)
Native alumni at Dartmouth seek removal of Native program hire (10/1)
IBIA rejects challenge to Grand Traverse Band land-into-trust bid (10/1)
DOJ audit slams handling of $70M in grants for Navajo Nation jails (10/1)
Ute Tribe and states win injunction against new BLM fracking rule (10/1)
Heather Denkmire: State tries to take river from Penobscot Nation (10/1)
Authorities investigate deaths on Northern Cheyenne Reservation (10/1)
President Obama signs bill to fund government thru December 11 (10/1)
Republican Jeb Bush defends racist name of Washington NFL team (10/1)
Connecticut tribes release request for proposals for a new casino (10/1)
Poarch Creeks meet for mediation session in casino tax dispute (10/1)
Eastern Cherokees bring gaming market a little closer to Atlanta (10/1)
Editorial: Dry Creek Rancheria casino still a threat to community (10/1)
House subcommittee embraces two tribal federal recognition bills (9/30)
Shinnecock Nation welcomes Secretary Jewell on key anniversary (9/30)
Jeb Bush wants tribes and states to control energy development (9/30)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on energy (9/30)
Former Indian Affairs attorney at Interior Department joins firm (9/30)
National Indian Gaming Commission finally sees another member (9/30)
Native Sun News: Agency in South Dakota hires first tribal liaison (9/30)
Native Sun News: Lakota blues player opens South Dakota festival (9/30)
Jay Daniels: Tribal news requires the negative as well as positive (9/30)
Steve Russell: Religious fundamentalism courtesy of county clerk (9/30)
Colville Tribes weigh amendment for small amounts of marijuana (9/30)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe raids marijuana operation on reservation (9/30)
Tulalip Tribes man convicted for buying guns despite court order (9/30)
Congress set to pass measure to avert shutdown of government (9/30)
Colombian tribe still struggling after being forced out of homeland (9/30)
Tribal communities in Nicaragua disrupted by influx of newcomers (9/30)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.