History

Native American Code Talkers have served an integral part in defending our Nation

  • The Cherokee and Choctaw used their languages to help bring a successful end to World War I in 1918. These men served voluntarily for what they considered their country as Congress did not even grant U.S. citizenship to Native Americans until 1924.
  • It is well-regarded that code talkers from the Navajo, Lakota, Comanche, Seminole, and other Tribal Nations changed the course of World War II, saving millions of lives.

These men served the United States with valor, especially considering the U.S. Government’s subpar treatment of American Indians. The Code Talkers fought for a country that made many legal efforts to terminate their existence and culture. Yet still, American Indians constitute the highest per-capita ethnic group to serve in the Armed Forces, a tradition that stems from the Code Talkers’ legacy.

Insufficient Efforts to Federally Recognize the Code Talkers

  • Code Talkers did not receive any recognition until declassification in 1968 and still lack proper acknowledgement to this day.
  • President Reagan named only a single day in history, August 14, 1968, as “Navajo Code Talkers Day”. This is a non-recurring day of recognition. Additionally, it ignores the contributions of other Native American tribes.
  • The Clinton and Bush administrations presented medals of valor to the Code Talkers, first only to the Navajo code talkers and then later members of other Tribes. Most of these medals were awarded posthumously and only after decades of substandard medical treatment and care.

The Long Road Ahead

According to an article in the Washington Post, it is a difficult task to create a national holiday. Only four federal holidays have been added to calendar in the past 100 years. Federal holidays cost taxpayers $200 million per day (figure from 1999).

However, considering the trend of local and state level governments to rename Columbus Day (a day whose origin was as an PR tactic to counter then-widespread anti-Italian immigrant sentiment) as Indigenous Peoples Day, individuals have the power to reclaim a day for something more positive, powerful, and patriotic.

The Petition

Please let us begin towards creating a national recurring day to commemorate the patriotism of our Native Americans and Veterans. The contributions of the smallest group can have the largest effects, and so can your signature on this important petition.

Support for this national holiday is given by the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Veterans Affairs Committee, Vietnam Veterans of America (#23), the Native Community Network, and those who have signed our online petition.

External Sites

Navajo Nation

navajo_code_talker_window_rock

Watch interviews of Navajo Code Talkers curated at this video archive.

 

Choctaw Nation

choctaw_code_talker_coin

19 soldiers from the Choctaw Nation were among the first code talkers in World War I.