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ELL-Code Talkers: The Navajo in World War II   Tags: ell, social studies, wwii  

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Navajo Code Talker Websites

The official web site of the Navajo Code Talkers featuring the stories of the Navajo Code Talkers through 1-on-1 Interviews and Video Archives. 

Describes the elite group of Navajo Marines and their role in World War II. This resource contains a collection of digital documents from before, during, and after the war.
This article explains the steps that were taken and the convincing that had to occur before the Navajo members of this group were creating new methods of communication during World War II.
During World War II, the Japanese could not break the Navajo code used by the Marines. This article is the history of how and why the Navajo language was used so successfully. Part of its success was because most of the language had never been written. Navy commanders were so impressed with the demonstration that they called for a unit almost immediately. The code talkers created a language of 211 terms, with a new alphabet. Each of the original code talkers was given a gold medal by President Bush in 2001.
Keeping information and communications secret during war is of vital importance. The challenge is to find a type of code that the receiver can decode, and that the enemies cannot. Decoding takes time, however, so to save time, the U.S. employed Navajos as code talkers. The U.S. Marine Corps began using code talkers in 1942. The advantage of the Navajo language is that there was no native alphabet and it was a complex language. The Navajo reservation was quite isolated which made them linguistically autonomous. Read about their work in the war which was highly classified until 1968. Read a copy of the letter recommending the enlistment of Navaho Indians.
The United States military sought the help of hundreds of American Indians during World War I and World War II, for the purpose of using their native language as a battle weapon. Through this incredible Smithsonian Institute site, you will have the opportunity to explore several stories about the valiant efforts of these great war heroes. See additional images in the Gallery. This entire interactive presentation can be heard, as you follow along with the text.

43rd U.S. President George W. Bush presented the Navajo Code Talkers their Congressional Gold Medals at the Capital Rotunda, Washington, DC; The American Presidency Project


    The Navajo in WWII - General Resources

    This article provides a detailed look at the numerous military contributions and heroic deeds made by Native Americans during World War II. The author points out that the exceptional patriotism of the Native Americans (volunteering at a rate far above that of any other part of the American population) is especially remarkable in light of how often the U.S. government had failed to honor treaties that it had made with the Indians.

    Navajo Code Talkers


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