Tags: native | americans | war | codes | honored

Native Americans Honored for Secret War Codes

Image: Native Americans Honored for Secret War Codes Edmund Harjo, one of the last surviving code talkers of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, is greeted before the start of a Capitol Hill ceremony on Nov. 20.

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 06:55 AM

By Elliot Jager

Congress honored representatives of 33 Native American tribes Wednesday for the work that  "code talkers" did during World War II, creating a language that allowed the U.S. military to communicate securely, saving thousands of lives.

According to McClatchy newspapers, the clandestine program, which was not revealed until decades after the war, required some 200 Native American conscripts to use their languages to create codes — a vocabulary of hundreds of words — that the Germans and Japanese were unable to break.

Only one code talker, Edmond Harjo, 96, of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, was present at the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony. Most of his fellow code talkers have died, The Washington Post reported.

The idea of using the language skills of Native Americans originated in World War I and was reprised in the second war.

The government once punished Native Americans for speaking their language, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska recalled at the ceremony.

"Here you've got your government that's yanking you out of your homeland and uprooting you from your culture, and your commitment to serve your country was still paramount," she said, according to McClatchy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also noted that the U.S. government "turned to a people and a language they had tried to eradicate," according to the Post.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner also spoke at the ceremony: "Heroes who for too long went unrecognized will now be given our highest recognition."

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, observed that the code talkers recalled the war era sacrifices of Japanese and African Americans who "often were barred from full participation in American life" yet served the country "with pride, with patriotism, with honor, with sacrifice."

In 2001, President George W. Bush had honored Navajo code talkers from Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Wednesday's ceremony recognized the contributions of Native Americans from other states as well.

Among those awarded medals were tribal representatives from Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy noted at the ceremony that Native Americans have the highest per-capita rate of military service.

Related Stories:

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Man Held Over Suitcase Stuffed With Human Remains

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 08:06 AM

A man was detained Friday night in connection with a suitcase found on a downtown San Francisco street stuffed with huma . . .

Texas Gov. Abbott Declaring 'Chris Kyle Day' in Sniper's Honor

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 08:02 AM

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 Chris Kyle Day in the state, in honor of  . . .

Ohio Delays Seven Executions to Secure New Drugs

Saturday, 31 Jan 2015 07:45 AM

Ohio is postponing the execution of seven death row inmates, officials said Friday, following several botched lethal inj . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved