Code Talkers: How Natives Saved the United States
Special exhibit runs now through November
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA – In the early 20th century, Native Americans were still denied some of their basic rights as aboriginal people. Some of those young men left their tribal homes and fought for the nation because of their love of their land.
These men used their language to relay important military messages and create unbreakable codes in World War I and World War II that helped defeat our country’s enemies.
In honor of their courageous efforts, a special exhibit will share their story at the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center now through November.
“This code talker exhibit honors the brave Native American soldiers who used their languages to defeat enemies in multiple wars dating back to World War I,” said Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief S. Joe Crittenden. “Had it not been for their courageous efforts, the outcome of those wars could have been drastically different. We are proud to share their story with the public.”
The first known use of Native Americans to transmit messages under fire was a group of Cherokee troops serving alongside the British at the Second Battle of Somme in September 1918.
The exhibit highlights Cherokees, Choctaws, Comanches, Navajos and other tribesmen who served in the military as code talkers. It also discusses their current recognition by the U.S. government and Hollywood.
Part of the special showcase is the Congressional Gold Medal awarded in 2013 to more than 30 tribes for the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions” made by an individual or institution.
The exhibit was created by Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. For more information about this and other historical attractions, visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.