Help Honor Our Code Talkers

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From the Desk of Chief Gregory E. Pyle

Help is needed from Choctaws across the United States so that legislation can be passed in the United States Congress to recognize the original Native American Code Talkers.  The Assistant Chief and I are currently working with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill that will make it possible to issue medals for service as a Code Talker.  We had 40 meetings in two days during the most recent trip to Washington, D.C. to ask for support for legislation to honor Code Talkers from all tribes.

Congressman Dan Boren has introduced HB 4544, which currently has 95 co-sponsors.  We need 289 co-sponsors to this bill, and many Congress people need to hear from someone who lives in their district before they will agree to sign on.  Senator James Inhofe has introduced S 2681, and it currently has 21 co-sponsors.  We need 67 co-sponsors on this bill.  All Senators and Congress-people from Oklahoma have signed on, and now we need to gather support from the other 49 states.

Native American language being used as code was made famous by the Navajos in WWII.  Their service was recognized with medals in 2000.  However, members of other Native American tribes also used their languages as unbreakable top-secret codes in WWI and WWII.

Choctaws were the first to use their Native language as ‘code” to transmit messages on the field.  Ironically, these men voluntarily served this country and used their own language to help win the war six years before the Native American Citizenship Act.  It is also ironic that at the same time the Choctaw language was being used to benefit the war effort, Native languages were being banned in government schools.

All of the Choctaw Code Talkers are now deceased.  Only a few living children remain.  Recognition of these men is needed now, before the children’s generation is lost.  HB 4544 and S 2681 allows a gold medal to be presented to each tribe, with a silver duplicate medal presented to individual Code Talkers or their families.  Bronze medals will be sold by the United States Mint, and all costs will come from the revolving fund for such activities of the Treasury, with no appropriates necessary.

Please contact the Congress-people and Senators who represent you and ask them to support these bills as a co-sponsor.  The honor is long overdue.

For help with maps on who your Congressman or Senator is:

http://nationalatlas.gov/printable.html

Then you can contact your Congressman with direct e-mail, phone numbers or addresses available on;  www.house.gov

And you can contact your state’s Senators with direct e-mail, phone numbers or addresses available at www.senate.gov

It is highly recommended that e-mail or phone calls be the contact method.  If mailing through the postal service, please direct the information to the state offices, as the mail in Washington, D.C. is slow due to security measures.

You can find the entire bills on http://thomas.loc.gov/

The following have already co-sponsored in the House

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Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment