Congress honors 33 tribes for sending Code Talkers into battle

YouTube: Gold Medal Ceremony for Native American Code Talkers

In a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Congress bestowed its highest honor on 33 tribes whose languages helped the United States defeat its enemies.

The Code Talkers developed and transmitted unbreakable codes during World War I and World War II. Their participation remained a secret for decades even as their own government carried out policies that attempted to stamp out their languages, ancestry and tribal nations.

That changed with the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008. The law authorized the Congressional Gold Medal for the 33 tribes, with each medal featuring a design unique to each tribe.

The law also authorized the Congressional Silver Medal for 216 individual Code Talkers from the tribes. Although most have passed, one of them -- Edmond Harjo, a 96-year-old member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma -- was able to receive his award in person at a follow-up ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Harjo also accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the Seminole Nation at the U.S. Capitol. His participation was singled out by Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Speaker of the House.

"Edmond and his brothers were at Normandy. They were on Iwo Jima," Boehner said. "They mobilized the simplest weapon: language."

The list of tribes recognized by Congress follows:
Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes
Cherokee Nation
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Choctaw Nation
Comanche Nation
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
Crow Tribe
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes
Ho-Chunk Nation (Wisconsin)
Hopi Tribe
Kiowa Tribe
Laguna Pueblo
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
Menominee Nation
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
Muscogee Nation
Oglala Sioux Tribe
Oneida Nation (Wisconsin)
Osage Nation
Pawnee Nation
Ponca Tribe (Oklahoma)
Pueblo of Acoma
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Sac and Fox Tribe (Iowa)
Santee Sioux Tribe
Seminole Nation (Oklahoma)
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Tonto Apache Tribe
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Yankton Sioux Tribe

Get the Story:
More Native American groups honored for their role as wartime code talkers (The Washington Post 11/21)
Native American WWII code talkers honoured (AAP 11/21)
Native American 'code talkers' honored in Capitol (AFP 11/21)
Code talkers honored in D.C. (The Tulsa World 11/21)
Three Wisconsin tribes honored for "code talking" during WWII (WTAQ 11/21)
Meskwaki ‘code talkers’ earn Congressional Gold Medal (The Globe Gazette 11/21)
Tlingit code talkers honored with Congressional Silver Medals (The Juneau Empire 11/21)
Congress honors Native American code talkers (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/21)
Congress honors Comanche ‘code talkers’ (The Daytona Beach News-Journal 11/21)
Tribes finally honored for secret work of World War II code talkers (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 11/21)
Photo Gallery: Code Talkers honor ceremony (Politico 11/20)
Press Release: Native American Tribes Whose Members Served as Code Talkers Honored with Congressional Gold Medals (US Mint 11/20)
Congress bestows Congressional Gold Medal, its highest honor, to American Indian code talkers (AP 11/20)
Meskwaki ‘code talkers’ receive Congressional Gold Medal (The Cedar Rapids Gazette 11/20)
Meskwaki members recognized for work as Code Talkers (Radio Iowa 11/20)
Congress honors several AZ tribe code talkers (KPHO 11/20)
Congress honors 33 U.S. tribes for creating secret war codes (McClatchy Newspapers 11/20)
US finally honours the Native American ‘code talkers’ of the Second World War (The Independent 11/20)
Meskwaki, 32 other tribes receive high honors for code talkers (KWWL 11/20)
Code Talkers honored with Congressional Gold Medal (The Albuquerque Journal 11/20)
Vice Chairman Honors Code Talkers (DodLive 11/20)
Code Talkers honored for their service in World Wars I and II (KTIV 11/20)
Oneida Nation Code Talkers Honored (WBAY 11/20)
Alaska Tlingit code talkers honored with Congressional Gold Medals for wartime work (Alaska Dispatch 11/20)
Tlingit Code Talkers Receive Recognition (Alaska Public Radio Network 11/20)
Native American code talkers belatedly get Congressional Gold Medals (Cronkite News 11/20)

Related Stories:
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