Fronteras: Chester Nez, last of original Navajo Code Talkers

"Only one veteran Navajo code talker remains of the original 29 Navajo Marines who used their native language to devise an unbreakable code during World War II.

Growing up in New Mexico, Chester Nez and many of his fellow Navajo were punished for speaking their language. In the 1920s, Nez attended one of many government run boarding schools that attempted to erase Indian culture and language.

"I often think about the things I went through, all the hardships," Nez said. He was being interviewed at the studios of KUNM in Albuquerque for Veterans Day.

Years later, Nez was shocked to learn he’d been recruited by the Marines, specifically to devise a code using the same language the government tried to beat out of him. Judith Avila helped Nez write his memoir Code Talker, which was just published."

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The Last Of The Navajo Code Talkers (Fronteras 11/11)

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