Teach Indigenous History – Code Talkers

Teach Indigenous History – Code Talkers

For decades Native children were severely disciplined if they dared speak their native language during the boarding school era. However, the same languages these assimilation schools strived to eradicate would be the very thing that kept them from defeat in not one but two world wars.

During the First World War, the Germans mastered tapping the American Army’s phone lines. Because of this tactic, they could find out where the Allied Forces were stationed and what resources they had available.

At the peak of these battles, several Choctaw soldiers were overheard speaking their Native language. Their commanding officer had an idea to have the nineteen soldiers do the bulk of the communication. Because they were fluent speakers, the Germans couldn’t effectively spy on the transmissions any longer, and the Choctaw Code Talkers were instrumental in ending the war.

Because of their success, the United States Army started a code talking program before World War II. Most of the publicity for Code Talkers goes to the Navajo during this time, but 33 different tribes contributed to the code talkers program.

Included in the code talker program were 67 known Lakota Code Talkers from various Lakota tribes.

As indigenous people, we know that our language is sacred! The government tried to steal it from our ancestors, use it for their wars, and then sell it back through expensive university courses.