The family of Edmund St. John poses with his Congressional Silver Medal during the Oceti Sakowin Code Talker celebration on October 24, 2015, in Pierre, South Dakota. St. John, who was a citizen of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, is one of the Code Talkers profiled in Andrea Page's book Sioux Code Talkers of World War II. Photo: Theanne Herrmann / U.S. Army National Guard
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Native Sun News Today: New book shares the secret stories of Sioux Code Talkers

Seven Sioux Code Talkers

Hunkpapa author tells their secret story
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

RAPID CITY—During any major conflict, but especially a world war, loose lips can sink ships. Many missions are undertaken by specially trained personnel. The military tends to keep these missions secret, and it may be many decades, even generations after a conflict is over, before the truth about what happened finally comes out. Only then are these people allowed to talk about their service, the sensitive nature of their mission.

For a long time, the general public has known about the twenty-nine original Navajo code talkers who served in the Pacific theater during WWII. There have been books, documentaries, movies, even comic books made about their exploits. We know that Cherokee and Choctaw pioneered code talking in WWI. What has not surfaced until recently, was the contributions of Lakota code talkers, in both the Pacific and in the European theaters of operations during WWII.

We can ask, why were these men denied acknowledgment, accolades and commendation for such a valuable wartime service? First, how was the military to know their services would not be needed in the 1950’s, the 1960’s?

That is an iron you keep glowing red hot in the fire. Had the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 turned into a worse-case scenario, WWIII would have resulted. The nukes of that time did not constitute mutually assured destruction. Rest assured, those code talkers would have been put back to critically important work in short order.

Beyond that, the military is divided into different branches, and top secret programs are not readily shared within a given branch, let alone between branches. Even the detailed public knowledge of what the Navajo code talkers accomplished did not prompt the military to reveal anything about what the Lakota code talkers accomplished.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Seven Sioux Code Talkers

James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at

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