Honoring the Code Talkers: The Forbidden Languages that Shielded a Nation

SAGE Development

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November is here, and with it, SAGE Development is excited to unveil a special series that celebrates Native American Heritage Month. Throughout this month, we’ll spotlight stories from various tribes, sharing the rich tapestry of our collective histories.

While we recognize that your inbox will see a few more emails, we humbly request your engagement – read, reflect, and share these stories, ensuring they reach as many hearts and minds as possible.

Our first email centers on the valor of the Code Talkers of World War I and II.
Amidst the heart of American soil, a heinous crime was placed upon Native children. Kill the Indian, Save the Man Boarding schools, under the guise of ‘civilizing’ the Indigenous children, subjected these innocent souls to brutal and harrowing punishments merely for uttering words in their native tongues. 

Words that held love, culture, and centuries of wisdom were met with violence, humiliation, and suppression.

Yet, in a twist of irony, these very languages, once stifled, emerged as a secret weapon for the United States during two world wars.

In World War I, the Germans had the upper hand, adeptly tapping into the American Army’s phone lines. Their eavesdropping gave them a clear vantage point, revealing the positions and plans of the Allied Forces. 

Enter the Choctaw soldiers. An unintentional strategy emerged when a commanding officer overheard several Choctaw soldiers conversing in their Indigenous language. Recognizing an opportunity, he marshaled these soldiers to handle most communications. With their fluency, the tables turned as the Germans could not decipher the transmissions, making the Choctaw Code Talkers pivotal in changing the war’s trajectory.

This legacy grew stronger before the start of WWII with the formation of the code talker program. Beyond the famed Navajo Code Talkers, we remember the bravery of 33 diverse tribes

This includes the 67 Lakota Code Talkers, who, despite bearing the scars of boarding school trauma, championed the cause of their nation using the very language that they were once punished for.

This month, as we pay homage to our rich tapestry of cultures and stories, let’s give a special salute to the Code Talkers. Their story isn’t just one of valor on the battlefield but also a testament to the indomitable spirit and resilience of Native American communities.

For the Indigenous community, our languages are more than mere communication tools; they are sacred threads connecting us to our ancestors and our legacy. The irony is glaring: A government that once sought to eradicate these languages later found solace in their complexity during its most challenging hours. 

Wóphila Tháŋka for walking alongside us on this deeply moving journey. Let us come together to honor and remember our ancestors with the reverence they so rightly deserve. For daily tales of resilience and legacy, be sure to visit our Facebook page each day this month.

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