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The E-Sylum (11/24/2013)

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The Washington Post had an article this week on the new Congressional Gold Medals for Native American code talkers. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Edmund Harjo code talker During the dark, early days of World War II, American military commanders were desperate for a code that could not be cracked by the Japanese.

The solution rested in the obscure languages spoken by Native American tribes, unfathomable to the Japanese. Native American code talkers, as they became known, were able to transmit messages quickly and securely, giving American forces a critical edge.

While the contributions of Navajo code talkers have been honored by Congress and featured in films, the role of dozens of other Native American tribes has been overlooked.

But on Wednesday, Congressional Gold Medals, the nation’s highest civilian honor, were awarded honoring the service of hundreds of overlooked code talkers from 33 tribes.

Native American calls and whoops of pride echoed through Emancipation Hall when tribal representatives, some wearing headdresses or other traditional clothing, received the medals in front of an audience of hundreds.

Few of the code talkers are still living, and only one was present for the ceremony.

Edmond Harjo, 96, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, served as a radio man with the 195th Field Artillery Battalion in France. Harjo, who attended in a wheelchair and received an ovation from the audience, said afterward that the honor was appreciated but belated.

To read the complete article, see: More Native American groups honored for their role as wartime code talkers (

Coin Update has a great article by Michael Zielinski with photos from the ceremony and images of the medals. -Editor

Navajo Code Talkers were previously honored with a Congressional Gold Medal authorized by an Act of Congress passed in 2000. Under the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-420), other tribes with members who served as Code Talkers during a foreign conflict in which the United States was involved were to be similarly honored. The Department of Defense identified an additional 33 eligible tribes for which the United States Mint was authorized to prepare and strike a gold medal with a unique design.

The Act further further authorized the Mint to strike silver duplicate medals that will be awarded to the Code Talkers, their family, or personal representative. Bronze medals are also authorized to be produced for sale to the public.

Images and descriptions of the 25 medals prepared and struck by the Mint so far are shown below. The line art design for a 26th medal which has not yet been struck is also included. The US Mint has offered for sale to the public 3-inch medals priced at $39.95 each and 1.5-inch medals priced at $6.95 each. The medals can be found online at

Ho-Chunk Nation medal
Ho-Chunk Nation medal

Hopi tribe medal
Hopi Tribe medal

To read the complete article, see: Native American Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medals (

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