Posted by: arbeam | April 28, 2014

“Native Words, Native Warriors” Exhibit opens at Suquamish Museum


ceremony2
Yesterday the Suquamish Museum opened a three month traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian, honoring Native American Code Talkers in World War I and II ” Native Words, Native Warriors“. The Suquamish Warriors Color Guard provided a colorful opening ceremony. Please come out and see this wonderful Museum in the Woods!

Suquamish Museum

Native Words, Native WarriorsIn World War I, Choctaw and other American Indians transmitted battle messages in their tribal languages by telephone. Although not used extensively, the World War I telephone squads played a key role in helping the United States Army win several battles in France that brought about the end of the war.

Beginning in 1940, the army recruited Comanches, Choctaws, Hopis, Cherokees, and others to transmit messages. The army had special American Indian recruiters working to find Comanches in Oklahoma who would enlist.

The Marine Corps recruited Navajo Code Talkers in 1941 and 1942. Philip Johnston was a World War I veteran who had heard about the successes of the Choctaw telephone squad. Johnston, although not Indian, had grown up on the Navajo reservation. In 1942, he suggested to the Marine Corps that Navajos and other tribes could be very helpful in maintaining communications secrecy. After viewing a demonstration of messages sent in the Navajo language, the Marine Corps was so impressed that they recruited 29 Navajos in two weeks to develop a code within their language.
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