Harlan McKosato: Code Talkers receive long overdue honors

Harlan McKosato discusses the importance of the Code Talkers and their Native languages:
The Navajo Code Talkers have become stuff of legend — as it should be. Their place in American History is pretty much unprecedented for their heroics in building an unbreakable code that allowed the United States to ultimately win World War II. But, whoa Nelly, other tribal Code Talkers belong in this country’s lore.

Did you know the original Code Talkers in World War I were Choctaw from Oklahoma? In 1917, American Indians were not citizens of the United States, and to most Americans, the languages they spoke were considered obsolete. Little did anyone know that American Indian languages would help turn the tide and win World War I (and World War II).

Last week, on Wednesday, the U.S. Congress formally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor to the Indian Code Talkers who served the U.S. during World Wars I and II. Gold medals, with 25 separate designs, were given out to the surviving soldiers, their families and their tribes, all in honor of soldiers who protected this country.

In a ceremony this week in Washington, D.C., at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, Code Talkers from tribes throughout the U.S. were recognized for their achievements. Three stories are inscribed into the history of this country — the Choctaws at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in World War I, the Comanche at Utah Beach and the Cherokees at the Second Battle of the Somme in World War I — as being crucial to victory.

Get the Story:
Harlan McKosato: Code talkers’ recognition overdue (The Santa Fe New Mexican 11/24)

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