Warrior’s Gallery

http://www.indigenouspeople.net/Paseeda/Slideshow/

0-1

Native Words, Native Warriors

The National Museum of the American Indian honors American Indian Code Talkers. This is a companion website to the traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition, Native Words, Native Warriors.

Two Navajo Code Talkers
Private First Class Preston Toledo (left) and Private First Class Frank Toledo, Navajo Code Talkers. 1

During World War I and World War II, hundreds of American Indians joined the United States armed forces and used words from their traditional tribal languages as weapons. The United States military asked them to develop secret battle communications based on their languages—and America’s enemies never deciphered the coded messages they sent. “Code Talkers,” as they came to be known after World War II, are twentieth-century American Indian warriors and heroes who significantly aided the victories of the United States and its allies.

Protecting the Homelands

Attack of the Seminoles on the Block House
“Attack of the Seminoles on the Block House.”
Many American Indian tribes fought against the United States to defend their lands and families. American Indian nations have always fought to defend themselves. Anyone who threatened their families, cultures, and lands was their enemy, including the United States. As a result of wars with the United States, many tribes were forced off their lands, relocated, or confined to reservations where they endured poverty, racism, and attempts to erase their traditional cultures. Languages were particularly targeted in the government’s efforts to change the American Indians’ ways of life. Beginning in the late 1800s, Indian children were forbidden to speak their own languages and punished in government- and church-supported boarding schools if they did.

Most American Indians were not legally considered citizens of the United States until 1924. Even then, some states refused to let American Indians vote until as late as the 1950s.

Despite this tragic history, many American Indian men and women have served in all branches of the military. In many conflicts and wars, including World War I and World War II, American Indians honorably defended their homelands and the United States.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s