Niles Aserat, a 67 year-old Vietnam War veteran and member of the Navajo Nation, started this campaign with a clipboard and a piece of paper while traveling to powwows across the United States to sell his jewelry. His belief that the Native American Code Talkers deserved to have their contributions celebrated on an annual basis was shared by American Indians and non-Native people everywhere.
In less than a year, Niles’ charm and dedication helped to recruit more and more Native volunteers who also shared his vision for the cause. From a simple clipboard, the Native Code Talkers Day campaign has spread through social media and a dogmatic commitment to maintaining a personal public interface through invited lectures and appealing to legislators.
In a short time, Niles has traveled to Nebraska; Cherokee, North Carolina; Georgia; Tennessee; Indiana; St. Louis and all the way to Holbrook, Arizona, where he was a guest on the KTNN Navajo Nation Radio station.
Though there have been efforts to establish a national day specific to the Navajo Code Talkers, Niles (as a Navajo Veteran) states that this day should belong to all Tribes:
It needs to be more inclusive, not just Navajos
Furthermore, whenever he speaks about the importance of the Code Talkers’ contributions in World Wars I and II, Niles says:
If it weren’t for the Code Talkers, we wouldn’t be here
The Native Community Network is a non-profit organization serving the Native Americans of Tennessee. Centralized in Nashville, the Native Community Network is primarily focused on cultural and economic development projects. The NCN is providing professional marketing assistance and financial sponsorship for tax compliance to this campaign.