You yourself can do the research on the Code Talkers, since there’s tons of tidbits about them, so much so that I’m not sure why Hollywood hasn’t created a movie based on their lives and accomplishments. (Well, actually, I am sure, as former Ridiculous Six actor Loren Anthony can tell you in his own words.)
But the jist of it is that a group of Oneida and Chippewa men became an integral part of America’s fight in World War II. To quote the Code Talkers site:
The story of the Navajo Code Talkers begins in 1940 when a small group of Chippewas and Oneidas became a part of the radio communications 32nd Infantry Division. Soon after, Sac and Fox tribes joined in the ranks as combat radiomen. The complexity of Navajo linguistics allowed it to become an ideal choice to be used in code due to the lack of documentation made available for learning to speak the language and ability for the same words to mean multiple things based on sound.
The site also has plenty of videos on the Code Talkers, including this one:
Vail Daily also published a very nice article about one of the Code Talkers, John Pinto, which gives even more backstory on how Pinto went from obscurity to national heroes.
The irony of the Code Talkers’ success in light of tremendous prejudice and institutional racism shouldn’t be lost. In celebrating these men and their accomplishments, we should also remember the Native people whose stories need to be recognized. America does its Native people a disservice when they honor them for saving the country in the interest of white America, yet denies them visibility any other day of the week. One way America could truly honor the Code Talkers is to honor to simply not turn their backs on Native people and include them in the country the Code Talkers fought so hard to protect.
What do you love about the Navajo Code Talkers? Give your opinions below!
Screencap from Navajo Code Talkers video “Saved By Our Language – The Story of The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II”