intelligence and bravery

Special recognition for Code Talking kept Secret for over 40 years.

Native American soldiers transmitted messages in their tribal languages by telephone to other platoons and soldiers. The dialects, including Choctaw, Comanche, and Cherokee, were completely unknown to any Axis powers who might be listening in, giving the U.S. military a crucial advantage. Choctaw soldiers even developed a unique code based on their language for extra security.

33 different tribes contributed to the code talkers.

secret weapon to help win the World Wars

American Indians represented an even greater opportunity to develop an indecipherable code–especially since the Germans studied Choctaw in the interwar period. Depending on inflection and pronunciation, a single word could have as many as four distinct meanings. At the time, there was no Navajo alphabet–it remained an unwritten language spoken only on the reservation.

While German anthropologists and journalists, including the Nazi propagandist Dr. Colin Ross, had studied other Native American tribes in the years after WWI, they did not make a subject of the Navajo. Johnston estimated that less than thirty people outside of the tribe had any familiarity with the dialect.


The original code talkers

“However, many Americans do not know that members of nearly 32 other Indian tribes served as codetalkers in World War I and World War II and have never been formally recognized for their service to our country,” said Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado at the Senate Hearing on Code Talkers.

During this hearing on the “Contributions of Native American Code Talkers in American Military History, Senator Campbell lists 32 other tribes to serve as code talkers during both the Pacific and European campaigns as; Comanche, Choctaw, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Osage, Lakota, Dakota, Chippewa, Oneida, Sac and Fox, Meskwaki, Hopi, Assiniboine, Kiowa, Pawnee, Akwesasne, Menominee, Creek, Cree, Seminole Tribes and Other unlisted tribes...

It was during World War II when many of the other Oceti Sakowin tribal groups served as code talkers. This would include the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, with Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe continuing research to confirm code talkers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) has the largest number of code talkers for any tribe across the country to receive the Congressional Gold Medal; including Navajo code talkers.


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