Woogie: Comanche Warrior


This is a beautiful photo portrait of my dear friend, Woogie Watchetaker, graciously provided by David and Ruth Malhalab.  It was taken by their family member, Jonathon J. Malhalab, sometime between 1976 – 1977 when the family member was stationed at Fort Sill.

Mr. Malhalab is seeking any information whatsoever relating to this photo and the circumstances relating to it.  If you have  any information relating to this photo or the events relating to it, please email me and I will put you in contact with him.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy seeing Woogie, proudly displaying his great strength, pride and strong character. What a special man he was and I extend a special thank you to Mr. Malhalab for sharing it with me and for the permission to post it on my artblog so that the entire world can enjoy it as well. Jonathon J. Malhalab’s photographic skills were amazing.  I know Woogie must have been very pleased with the  results of the sitting.  I’m so thankful for whatever circumstances made it possible for the photo to be taken and appreciate David Malhalab generously sharing it with us.  This, my friends, is the Woogie I knew.  He always described himself to me as “strong, like Geronimo” and that strength Woogie always displayed was skillfully captured in this photo.

NOTE:  This photo is protected by a copyright.  You must have written permission from Mr. Malhalab or his representative to copy or use this photo.

The Eagle: Did You Know…?

Did you know that an Eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come.  When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind picks it up and lifts it above the storm.  While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it all in the calming breath of the Great Spirit.  The eagle does not escape the storm.  It simply uses the storm to lift it higher.

The storms do not have to overcome us. When the storms of life come upon us (and all of us will experience storms in our lives) we have the ability to rise above them by setting our sight on Our Great Creator.   We can look to Our Great Creator’s almighty power to lift us up above the storm.

The Creator of all things can set us above the winds of the storm and allow us to soar above it all,  just as the eagle does.

Kindred Spirits by Cheryl Davis (Copyright 1993)

Kindred Spirits by Cheryl Davis (Copyright 1993)

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eages.”

Isaiah 40:31

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Cherokee Legend: Two Wolves Within

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (3)  

Our Best WORLD WAR I AND II Weapon: Choctaw Code Talkers


In the closing days of World War I, fourteen Choctaw Indian men in the Army’s Thirty-Sixth Division, trained to use their language, helped the American Expeditionary Force win several key battles in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in France, the final big German push of the war. The fourteen Choctaw Code Talkers were Albert Billy, Mitchell Bobb, Victor Brown, Ben Caterby, James Edwards, Tobias Frazer, Ben Hampton, Solomon Louis, Pete Maytubby, Jeff Nelson, Joseph Oklahombi, Robert Taylor, Calvin Wilson, and Walter Veach.

With at least one Choctaw man placed in each field company headquarters, they handled military communications by field telephone, translated radio messages into the Choctaw language, and wrote field orders to be carried by “runners” between the various companies. The German army, which captured about one out of four messengers, never deciphered the messages written in Choctaw.

The Choctaws were recognized as the first to use their native language as an unbreakable code in World War I. The Choctaw language was again used in World War II. Choctaws conversed in their language over field radios to coordinate military positions, giving exact details and locations without fear of German interception.

1939 to 1945

The Army taps Hopi, Choctaw, Comanche, Kiowa, Winnebago, Seminole, Navajo and Cherokee Americans to use their languages as secret code in World War II. The Marines rely on Navajos to create and memorize a code based on the complex Navajo language.

During the annual Choctaw Labor Day Festival in 1986, Chief Hollis E. Roberts presented posthumous Choctaw Nation Medals of Valor to the families of the Code Talkers. This was the first official recognition the Choctaw Code Talkers had been given. On November 3, 1989, in recognition of the important role the Choctaw Code Talkers played during World War I, the French government presented Chief Roberts with the “Chevalier de L’Ordre National du Merite” (the Knight of the National Order of Merit), the highest honor France can bestow.

The World War I
Choctaw “Code Talkers”

Unbelievable, these men have never been honored by their country.

We can help make it happen.

The Family Tree – August/September 1999

Bryan County Heritage Quarterly
P.O. Box 153, Calera, Okla. 74730-0153

In the closing days of World War I, eight Choctaw Indians were instrumental in helping the American Expeditionary Force to win several key battles in the Meusse Argonne Campaign, which proved to be the final big German push of that war. These Brave soldiers were the now famous Choctaw Code Talkers. One of the eight was from Bryan County, Oklahoma and one was from Choctaw County and the remaining six were from McCurtain County. They were Solomon Lewis, Bennington; Ben Carterby, (Bismark) Wright City, Mitchell Bobb, Smithville; Robert Taylor, Bokehito or Boswell; Ca’vin Nelson, Kullitukle; Pete Maytubby, Borken Bow; James Edwards, Ida (now Battiest) and Jeff Wilson, Goodwater.

All of these men were serving in the same battalion, which was practically surrounded by the German Army.

And, to make matters worse, it was known that the Germans had “broken” the American radio codes and had tapped the telephone lines. The Germans were also capturing about one out of every four messengers sent out as runners between the various companies on the battle line.

One day, a Captain Lawrence, Commander of one of the companies, was strolling through the company area when he happened to overhear Solomon Lewis and Mitchell Bobb conversing in their native Choctaw language.

After listening for a few minutes, he called Lewis and asked “Corporal, how many of you Choctaws do we have in this battalion?”

After a conference with Bobb, Lewis told the Caption, “We have eight men who speak fluent Choctaw in the Battalion, Sir.”

“Are there any of them over in headquarters Company?: the Captain asked/

“I think Carterby and Maytubby are over there, Sir.” Lewis replied.

“You fellows sit right here,” said the Captain.

He got on the field telephone and discovered that, indeed, Ben Carterby and Pete Maytubby were attached to Headquarters Company.

“Get Them and have them stand by,” Captain Lawrence told his commanding officer “I’ve got an idea that might just get those Heinies off our backs.”

Calling Lewis Bobb the Captain told them, “Look, I’m going to give you a message to call in to headquarters and I want you to give the message in your language. There will be somebody there who can understand it.”

It was at that moment that PFC Mitchell Bobb, using field telephone, delivered the first Choctaw Code Message to Choctaw Ben Carterby, who then translated it into English for the Battalion commander.

Within a matter of hours, the eight men able to speak the Choctaw Language had been shifted until there was at least one in each field company headquarters.

Not only were they handling field telephone calls, they were translating radio messages into the Choctaw Language and writing field order to be carried by “runners” between the various companies.

The Berman code experts were “flipping their wigs” trying to break the new American code.

With in 72 hours after the Choctaw language was pressed into service, the tide of battle had turned, and in less than 72 hours, the German Army was retreating and the Allied Forces were on full attack.

Since this occurred at the close of the war, the Choctaw Code Talkers were apparently used in only this one campaign. The men were praised by their company commanders and the battalion commander. Thought these men were promised medals for their contributions to end the war, they have never been received.

The information contained in this history of the Choctaw Code talkers was told to the writer of the article by Solomon Lewis in 1979, who at that time, was the only remaining Code talker alive. Solomon Lewis died sometime between 1982 and 1983.

With Thanks to the Bryan County Heritage Quarterly.

American Indian Medal of Honor Winners – In the 20th century, five American Indians have been among those soldiers to be distinguished by receiving the United States’ highest military honor: the Medal of Honor.

America’s Secret Military Weapon

Bishinik – The Official Publication of the Choctaw Nation, August 1986.

Choctaw Code Talkers – WWI – The First code talkers in the U. S. Arm Forces

Native Indian Tongue for Secure Communications

Who were the Choctaw code talkers?

Code Talkers – Mosai Ne-ahs-jah Be Dzeh – What does this mean?


The Choctaw Code Talkers:

As World War I drew to a close, the United States had a continuing problem of phone calls being intercepted by German forces. One could be fairly certain that a German spy would hear any telephone call made. Unfortunately, voice-scrambling technology wouldn’t be invented for decades. The United States came up with several inventive solutions to the problem, but unfortunately none of them worked for any length of time.

First, the Army tried trench codes. They worked for a time, but after they had been in use for a while, the Germans readily cracked them. Another solution, sending messengers between camps, failed because Germans captured about one in four.

So, what was the Army to do? One smart commander, Captain Lewis, realized that the languages used by American Indians are extremely complex and difficult to learn. He capitalized on the complexity as a code, employing eight Choctaw Indians during the Mousse-Argonne campaign, which turned out as the final German push of the war.

The Indians:

  • Solomon Lewis
  • Mitchell Bobb
  • Ben Carterby
  • Robert Taylor
  • Jeff Nelson
  • Pete Maytubby
  • James Edwards
  • Calvin Wilson

(Above Photo) The Choctaw Code Talkers. (Image created before 1918.)

Simply put, the Indians were stationed at command posts, and spoke all important telephone calls in their native language, translating from and into English for their commanders. German intelligence wasn’t able to figure out what the new American code was or to even think about breaking it.

Within 24 hours of the United States starting to use Choctow Indians language as a form of encryption, the tides of war changed in favor of the United States. Within 72 hours, the Germans were in retreat.

The Choctow weren’t used again in an unclassified military effort (other data may still be classified). However, the Navajo tribe was utilized in World War II, where they had equal effectiveness at stumping German cryptographers.


World War 1 Code Talkers Instrumental in Ending War

When World War I broke out a huge percentage of Choctaw men volunteered, along with about 10,000 other Native Americans, for service in the U.S. Military. The language the Choctaws spoke was considered obsolete. That same language later helped bring about a successful end to the war by confounding German eavesdroppers.

During World War I, with the tapping of the American Army’s phone lines, the Germans were able to learn the location of where the Allied Forces were stationed at, as well as where supplies were kept. An idea was born to put Choctaw Indians on the phones and let them talk in their Native speech. The German soldiers had never heard this language before. The Choctaw Nation also had tribal members who used their language to transmit messages in World War II. The native language was an excellent tool to use on behalf of the American forces in both wars. Until the use of the Choctaw language in World War I, the Germans had decoded all transmitted messages sent by the Allied Forces.

In World War I, according to a memo dated January 23, 1919, from the commanding officer of the 142nd Infantry Division, Col. A.W. Bloor, “The first use of the Indians was made in ordering a delicate withdrawal of two companies of the 2nd Bn. From Chufilly to Chardoney on the night of October 26th. This movement was completed without mishap, although it left the Third Battalion greatly depleted in previous fighting, without support. The Indians were used repeatedly on the 27th in preparation for the assault on Forest Farm. The enemy’s complete surprise is evidence that he could not decipher the messages. “After the withdrawal of the regiment to Louppy-le-Petit, a number of Indians were detailed for training tin transmitted messages over the telphone. The instruction was carried out by the Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Black. It had been found that the Indian’s vocabulary of military terms was insufficient. The Indian for ‘Big gun’ was used to indicate artillery. ‘Little gun shoot fast,’ was substituted for machine gun, and the battalions were indicated by one, two, and three grains of corn.”

“It was found that the Indian tongues do not permit verbatim translation, but at the end of the short training period at Louppy-le-Petit, the results were very gratifying, and it is believed, had the regiment gone back into the line, fine results would have been obtained. We were confident the possibilities of the telephone had been obtained without its hazards.”

“The Choctaw Nation is very proud of the story of the original Code Talkers, and even has a granite monument at the entrance to our capitol grounds that bears the engraved names of the men who used the Choctaw language to help win World War I,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle. “The language is so important to the tribe today that there are classes offered in 43 public schools, two colleges and three universities, as well as on the Internet and in many community centers.” Verbal history, combined with written history, has revealed the names of the 18 Choctaws who were trained to use their own language to transmit messages that the enemy was never able to decipher. These men were Tobias Frazier, Victor Brown, Joseph Oklahombi, Ben Hampton, Albert Billy, Walter Veach, Ben Carterby, James Edwards, Solomon Louis, Pete Maytubby, Michell Bobb, Calvin Wilson, Jeff Nelson, Joseph Davenport, George Davenport, Noel Johnson, Otis Leader and Robert Taylor. Originally, only eight men were asked to be Choctaw Code Talkers, but as the success of using their native language as a “code” was recognized, others were quickly pressed into service.

When the Choctaw tongue was spoken over the field telephones, the Germans stopped attacking the supply dumps and counter attacking the American troops. This is because they had no idea what the Choctaws were saying and couldn’t effectively spy on the message transmissions. A captured German officer later said they were completely confused by the “code”.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has formalized a request to Congress that recognition be given to the Native American Code Talkers of all tribes who used their own language during WWI or WWII as a “code” to confuse the enemy. Honor from the United States Government to these unsung heroes is long overdue.

Other Links:


American Indian Medal of Honor Winners
Navajo Code Talkers in World War II: A Bibliography
Navajo Code Talker Dictionary



Bill would recognize WWI Code Talkers. (Washington Report).(Senator JAmes M. Inhofe introduces a bill to authorize the president to award a medal to)(Brief Article)


The first code talkers: Choctaw telephone squad, 142nd Infantry

Choctaw Indians were the first “code talkers” in the U.S. military, using their language a generation before the World War II Navajos. A band of Choctaw Indians volunteered when the U.S. entered WW1 and joined the 36th Infantry Division. They were never recognized, and their descendants have been on the offensive to change that. “We don’t have a lot of Indian heroes,” said Tewanna Edwards, the great-niece of Choctaw veteran Otis Leader. They met with some success when Lt. Gen. Charles Rodriguez honored the 18 Choctaw code talkers at a ceremony in Austin. Families believe that the code talkers deserve a Congressional Gold Medal, which the WWII Navajos received. [ star-telegram :: 2007-09-17 :: WW1 Choctaw code talkers ]

Published in: on August 13, 2008 at 6:36 am  Comments (9)  

On the Passing of Elders

“Grandmother” by Denny Haskew

…on the Passing of Elders

You sit still among us, Brother (Sister), your person retains its usual resemblance, and continues similar to ours, without any visible deficiency, except that it has lost the power of action. But whither is that breath flown, which a few hours ago sent up smoke to the Great Spirit? Why are those lips silent, that lately delivered to us expressive and pleasing language? Why are those feet motionless, that a short time ago were fleeter than the deer on yonder mountains? Why useless hang those arms that could climb the tallest tree, or draw the toughest bow? Alas! Every part of that frame which we lately beheld with admiration and wonder, is now become as inanimate as it was three hundred years ago. We will not, however, bemoan thee as if thou was for ever lost to us, or that thy name would be buried in oblivion; thy soul yet lives in the great Country of Spirits, with those of thy nation that are gone before thee; and though we are left behind to perpetuate thy flame, we shall one day join thee. Actuated by the respect we bore thee while living, we now come to tender to thee the last act of kindness it is in our power to bestow: that thy body might not lie neglected on the plain, and become a prey to the beasts of the field, or the fowls of the air, we will take care to lay it with those of thy predecessors who are gone before thee; hoping at the same time, that thy spirit will feed with their spirits, and be ready to receive ours when we also shall arrive at the great Country of Souls.

…funeral oration


Published in: on July 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last World War II Comanche Code Talker, Charles ‘Charlie’ Joyce Chibitty

The following stories spotlight the service of Charlies “Charlie” Joyce Chibitty, WWII Comanche Code Talker, who was the brother of my dear friend, Woggie Watchetaker. On this 4th of July, I would like to pay tribute to Mr. Chibitty and the other many great warriors who served as code talkers and were a huge factor in achieving victory in the WWII conflict. I had the great honor and have fond memories of meeting Mr. Chibitty on several occasions.

This is ‘Charlie’s” great story.

CHARLES J. CHIBITTY served with the US Army from January 1, 1941 to July 3, 1945 earning the rank of T/5. He was a member of the Comanche Code Talkers. T/5 Chibitty was from the Mount Scott-Porter Hill area and a Golden Gloves boxer and fancy war dancer. He was the last surviving Code Talker when he passed away on July 20, 2005 at the age of eighty-three.

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, donned his feathered Indian chief’s headdress and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building. Photo by Rudi Williams.

Arthur L. Money presents Charles Chibitty with a cased American flag that was flown over the capitol during ceremonies in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. The 78- year-old Chibitty is the last surviving World War II Army Comanche “code talker.” Money is the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Broils, USA.

When Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, visited Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in 2002, the secretary presented him a memento of a small engraved box. Photo by Rudi Williams


DoD Honors Last Comanche World War II “Code Talker”

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 1999 – Charles Chibitty, 78, was honored here Nov. 30 as the last surviving World War II Army Comanche “code talker” during an emotional ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.The ceremony was punctuated by thundering drumbeats echoing through the Pentagon corridor and “vocables” of joy and sadness. “Vocables” are sounds replacing words so singers of various Native American tribes can sing together.

Chibitty received the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Corps Association in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military intelligence efforts. The award is named in honor of Revolutionary War Army Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton.

Arthur L. Money, assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence, presented Chibitty the award in recognition of the role he and 16 other Comanche Indians played in cloaking military messages on the battlefields of Europe. The Comanches frustrated enemy code breakers by translating Army messages into their native language. The enemy never broke the code.

The code talkers are credited with saving countless American and allied lives, said Money, who also presented Chibitty an American flag that was flown over the capitol and a framed letter from Johnny Waugua, chairman of the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma.

“Volunteers like Mr. Chibitty were key to the U.S. and allied forces’success from Normandy to Berlin,” Money said. “History has proven that our ‘code talkers’ thoroughly confounded our enemy’s intelligence collection efforts, which on several occasions gave us the tactical advantage to ensure success while minimizing the risk to our troops.”

“It’s incredibly ironic that my agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, dedicated itself for the first half of this century to destroying the native languages that proved to be so useful to our armed forces during World War II,” said Kevin Gover, the Department of Interior’s assistant secretary of Indian affairs. “It’s a great irony that in just two or three generations of being in conflict with the United States, our warriors would go forward and play such a crucial role in the victory over this country’s enemies.” Gover assisted with the presentations.

Chibitty said the French government recognized Comanche code talkers in 1989 by presenting them that country’s second highest honor — naming each a Knight of the National Order of Merit. But, he said, being honored at the Pentagon was special because “you’re home folks.”

“I always wonder why it took so long to recognize us for what we did,” Chibitty said, holding back tears as he spoke of his deceased Comanche comrades. “They’re not here to enjoy what I’m getting after all these years. Yes, it’s been a long, long time.”

Using the code the Comanches created in 1941 during training at Fort Benning, Ga., Chibitty sent the first message on D-Day which, in English, translated to “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We compiled a 100-word vocabulary of military terms during training,” said Chibitty, who joined the Army in January 1941 along with 20 other Comanches. “The Navajo did the same thing. The Navajos became code talkers about a year after the Comanches, but there were over a hundred of them because they had so much territory (in the Pacific Theater) to cover.”

Choctaw Indians were used as code talkers during World War I.

Since there was no Comanche word for “tank,” the code talkers used their word for “turtle.” “Machine gun” became “sewing machine,” Chibitty noted, “because of the noise the sewing machine made when my mother was sewing.” “Bomber” became “pregnant airplane.” “Hitler,” he said with a grin, was “posah-tai-vo,” or “crazy white man.”

Chibitty said two Comanches were assigned to each of the 4th Infantry Division’s three regiments. They sent coded messages from the front line to division headquarters, where other Comanches decoded the messages. He said some of the code talkers were wounded, but all survived the war.

“The only thing I regret is my fellow code talkers are not here,” Chibitty said. “But I have a feeling those boys are here somewhere listening and looking down.”

When his last fellow code talker died in September 1998, Chibitty said, “All those other boys up there were welcoming him home. They were hugging and kissing him and, while they were doing that, they said, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve still got one more down there. When Charles gets up here, we’re going to welcome him just like we welcoming you.””


“You had this way of speaking that nobody could translate. The way you used your language was of such great advantage to your country,” Les Brownlee, the undersecretary of the Army, told Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker during a visit to his Pentagon office. Photo by Rudi Williams.

Last WWII Comache Code Talker Visist Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 – After meeting with the defense secretary and other top Pentagon officials on Nov. 5, Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, donned his feathered Indian chief’s headdress and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building.

The aging code talker then placed a wreath and offered an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery. This marks the third time the 81-year old war veteran was honored at the Pentagon for his service to the nation. His visits in 1992 and 1999 were also in November during National American Indian Heritage Month.

While meeting at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of the Army Les Brownlee and Raymond F. DuBois Jr., deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, Chibitty recounted his wartime experiences when his unit landed on the Normandy shores on “the first or second day after D-Day.” After his unit hit Utah Beach, his first radio message was sent to another codetalker on an incoming boat. Translated into English, it said: “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland, the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We were trying to let them know where we were so they wouldn’t lob no shells on us,” he explained with a chuckle. “I was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. We talked Indian and sent messages when need be. It was quicker to use telephones and radios to send messages because Morse code had to be decoded and the Germans could decode them. We used telephones and radios to talk Indian then wrote it in English and gave it to the commanding officer.”

Chibitty said two Comanches were assigned to each of the 4th Infantry Division’s three regiments. They sent coded messages from the front line to division headquarters, where other Comanches decoded the messages.

He said 20 Comanches signed up to be code talkers, but only 17 went to training at Fort Benning, Ga., and only 14 hit Utah Beach at Normandy. “None of us was killed, but two were wounded pretty badly; one was my cousin,” Chibitty noted.

Brownlee asked him if he was hit and Chibitty said, “Heck, no. I was like a prairie dog. As soon as I heard a whistle, I’d dive in that hole. I was little then. I weighed 126 pounds and it didn’t take long for me to dig my hole. My buddy weighed 240 pounds and some of them were more than six feet tall and they had to dig a long trench.”

Speaking in the Comanche language, Chibitty gave Brownlee another example of a message code talkers sent to other units, then translated it for him: “A turtle is coming down the hedgerow. Get that stovepipe and shoot him.”

“A turtle was a tank and a stovepipe was a bazooka,” he explained. “We couldn’t say tank or bazooka in Comanche, so we had to substitute something else. A turtle has a hard shell, so it was a tank.”

Since there was no Comanche word for machine gun it became “sewing machine,” Chibitty noted, “because of the noise the sewing machine made when my mother was sewing.” Hitler, he said, was “posah-tai-vo,” or “crazy white man.”

There are no other words in his language to describe a bomber aircraft, so they said, “Daddy and I went fishing and we cut that catfish open and he’s full of eggs. Well, that bomber was up there just like this catfish, it’s full of eggs, too, so we called it a pregnant airplane.”

“We got so we could send any message, word for word, letter for letter,” Chibitty said. “The Navajos did the same thing in the Pacific during World War II and the Choctaw used their language during World War I. There were other code talkers from other tribes, but if they didn’t train like the Comanche and Navajos, how could they send a message like we did? If they made a slight mistake, instead of saving lives, it could have cost a lot of lives.”

In 1989, the French government honored the Comanche code talkers, including Chibitty , by presenting them the “Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.” Chibitty has also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma. In 2001, Congress passed legislation authorizing the presentation of gold medals to Native Americans who served as code talkers during foreign conflicts.

“I felt I was doing something that the military wanted us to do and we did to the best of our ability, not only to save lives, but to confuse the enemy by talking in the Comanche language,” he said. “We felt we were doing something that could help win the war.”

Brownlee asked him if the Comanche language is written and Chibitty said, “There’s a book, but you’ve got to be awfully damn smart to read it. It’s not like alphabets, you have to learn the phonetics to pronounce the words.” The aging code talker then sang Silent Night in the Comanche language.

Chibitty said when he attended Indian school in the 1920s, teachers became angry with him because he was speaking the Comanche language. “When we got caught talking Indian, we got punished,” he noted. “I told my cousin that they’re trying to make little white boys out of us,” he said.

After joining the Army years later, he told his cousin, “They tried to make us quit talking Indian in school, now they want us to talk Indian.”

The retired glazier visits schools to tell the youngsters about what code talkers did and how they did it. He said officials at Comanche headquarters near Lawton, Okla., are trying to preserve the language by teaching it to children.

“The service you and your buddies provided turned out to be invaluable,” Brownlee told the aging veteran. “You had this way of speaking that nobody could translate. The way you used your language was of such great advantage to your country.”

Before returning home to Tulsa, Okla., Chibitty spent some time with researchers at the U.S. Army Center for Military History for oral history sessions. The Army wants to preserve the history of the Comanche code talkers and Chibitty is the last one to tell the story from first-hand experience.


World War II Comanche Code Talker Laid to Rest – July 29, 2005

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2005 – When Charles “Charlie” J. Chibitty, the last World War II Comanche code talker, was buried July 26, a friend wrote in the eulogy, “Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing or ending. As long as wind blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know.”

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, told Pentagon officials that teachers at the Indian school near Lawton, Okla., became angry with him for speaking the Comanche language in the early 1920s, then the Army wanted Comanches to use their language as a code during World War II. Chibitty died July 20 in Tulsa, Okla. He was 83. He was invited to the Pentagon three times — in 1992, 1999 and 2002 — in honor of his service to the nation as a World War II code talker. He, along with 16 other Comanche Indians, was part of an Army company of code talkers who befuddled the Germans during the invasion of the beaches of Normandy, France.

During his 2002 Pentagon visit, Chibitty said his unit hit Utah Beach in Normandy “the first or second day after D-Day.” His first radio message was sent to another code talker on an incoming boat. Translated into English, it said: “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland, the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We were trying to let them know where we were so they wouldn’t lob no shells on us,” he explained with a chuckle. “I was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. We talked Indian and sent messages when need be. It was quicker to use telephones and radios to send messages, because Morse code had to be decoded and the Germans could decode them. We used telephones and radios to talk Indian, then wrote it in English and gave it to the commanding officer.”

The Comanche Indians frustrated enemy code breakers by translating Army messages into their native language. The enemy never broke the code.

Chibitty enlisted in the Army in January 1941. He earned the World War II Victory Medal, European Theater of Operations Victory Medal with five bronze stars, Europe-African Middle East Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. In 1989, the French government honored the Comanche code talkers by presenting them the Chavalier of the National Order of Merit.

He was presented the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Association, in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military efforts. In April 2003, Chibitty attended the dedication ceremony for a monument to Choctaw and Comanche code talkers of World War I and World War II at Camp Beuregard in Pineville, La., where he trained during World War II. When he visited the Pentagon in 1992, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney presented him a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma, who honored him for his contributions to that state and the nation.

When Chibitty visited the Pentagon in November 2002, he donned his feathered Indian chief’s headgear and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building. The aging World War II code talker then went to nearby Arlington National Cemetery and placed a wreath and offered an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns. His 2002 visit included a meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Before returning home to Tulsa, Chibitty spent some time with researchers at the U.S. Army Center for Military History for oral history sessions.

“Laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns really meant a lot to him,” Chibitty’s adopted daughter, Carrie V. Wilson of Fayetteville, Ariz., said during a telephone interview.

“When he talked about his code talking days, he always said he wished that all the other code talkers could have gotten the awards, attention and recognition that he did,” said Wilson, a cultural resource consultant. “But by the time they really recognized the Comanche code talkers, most of them were dead.”

“He never thought about any of the awards without thinking about all the others who had gone before him,” Wilson noted. Pointing out that Chibitty was a traditional Comanche speaker, Wilson said his death is a huge loss to the Comanche community. “He tried to teach Comanche to whomever showed an interest in it,” she noted.

“He was a big powwow Indian, and he took me into his family more than 35 years ago,” said Wilson, a Quapaw Indian, who is a former Miss Indian Oklahoma and a Quapaw tribal princess. “He adopted me, and put his daughter’s clothes on me, and took me out to a big powwow in Tulsa. He told everybody that he gave me permission to wear Comanche clothes because he’d taken me into his family as his daughter.”

Wilson said she has many fond memories of Chibitty, including going to powwow dances with him and his brother. Both of them were nationally known for their Indian championship dancing. “When he and his brother and other Comanches came out onto the dance floor, they looked like royalty,” she said. “They were always recognized in the Indian community as championship dancers.

“We’d laugh and tease, and he was always fun to be around,” Wilson said. “But an important thing is that he was always there for anyone who needed help, whether they had problems with drinking or just needed someone to talk to. He was always available to listen to them and give advice, or be a friend.

“Every night before he went to bed, he’d sit on the edge of his bed and pray,” she noted. “He was a very sincere person. He knew what war was about and how precious life is. And, he believed that education is one of the most important things.”

Chibitty’s son, a promising attorney, was killed in a car accident in 1982, and his daughter died about 10 years later, Wilson said. “After that, his wife died,” she noted. “So my role as a daughter became more real. Before his wife died, she told me to take care of him – I tried.”

In addition to Wilson, Chibitty is survived by two grandsons, Chebon Chibitty and Acey Chibitty, and another adopted daughter, Lacey Chibitty, who reside in Tulsa. He also leaves behind a number of nieces and nephews.

Musical tributes included the Kricket Rhoads Connywerdy, Comanche Sovo drum, Comanche hymns at the graveside. Chibitty was given full military honors, including a 21-gun salute by the Fort Sill Honor Team.

“They sang the Comanche code talkers’ song, which is a beautiful song, as they were putting him into the ground,” Wilson said. The Comanche Indian Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 577, American Legion Post 1, Masonic Rights and Millennium Lodge 543 attended his funeral.

Above: Charles Chibitty offers an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery during a Nov. 5, 2002, visit to the site. Photo by Rudi Williams.


Charles ChibittyNovember 20, 1921July 20, 2005 was a Comanche code talker who used his native language to relay messages for the Allies during World War II. Chibitty, and 15 other Comanches had been recruited by the U.S. military for this purpose since Comanche was a language that was entirely unknown to the Germans, who were unable to decipher it. The Navajos performed a similar duty in the Pacific War.

Chibitty was born on November 20, 1921, in a tent 16 miles west of Lawton, Oklahoma. He attended high school at the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. He served in the Army’s Fourth Signal Company in the 4th Infantry Division. He earned the World War II Victory Medal, the European Theater of Operations Victory Medal with five bronze stars, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

In 1989, Chibitty and the other two surviving code talkers – Roderick Red Elk and Forrest Kassanavoid – were presented with the Chevalier of the Ordre National du Mérite by the French government. Chibitty’s work — and that of the other Comanches who served in Europe — was not recognized by the U.S. government until 1999, when he received the Knowlton Award from The Pentagon, which recognizes outstanding intelligence work. By the time this recognition came around, Chibitty was the only surviving Comanche code talker.

In interviews with the media he would name all of his Comanche colleagues, so that they would not be forgotten. They were Larry Saupitty, Willie Yackeschi, Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyobad, Haddon Codynah, Robert Holder, Clifford Ototivo, Forrest Kassanavoid, Roderick Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Melvin Permansu, Ellington Mihecoby and Elgin Red Elk.

He died on July 20, 2005 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



Charles Chibitty was presented the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Association, in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military efforts. In April 2003, Chibitty attended the dedication ceremony for a monument to Choctaw and Comanche code talkers of World War I and World War II at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La., where he trained during World War II. When he visited the Pentagon in 1992, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney presented him a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma, who honored him for his contributions to that state and the nation.

Bro. Chibitty was Raised a Master Mason on October 26, 1951, in Petroleum Lodge No. 474 in Tulsa, which merged with Millennium Lodge No. 543. He joined the Guthrie Scottish Rite in 1954, and affiliated with the Valley of Tulsa in 1974. Bro. Chibitty received his 50-year membership award from the Valley of Tulsa in 2004. He is survived by two adopted daughters, Carrie V. Wilson and Lacey Chibitty, two grandsons, Chebon Chibitty and Acey Chibitty, and a number of nieces and nephews.

AFRTS Video Reports: http://www.defenselink.mil/images/video.gifNative American ‘Code Talker’ honored at the Pentagon


Veteran Recalls Navajo Code Talkers’ War in the Pacific

By Cpl. Cullen James, USA Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., Dec. 6, 1999 – America’s World War II island-hopping campaign in the Pacific was about to start in 1942, and the U.S. military still didn’t have something it desperately needed — a communications code the Japanese couldn’t break.

Then, Philip Johnston had a revolutionary idea: Use the native language of the Navajo Indians. Johnston, the son of a missionary to the Navajos, was one of the few outsiders who could speak the tribe’s tongue fluently. The language is unique to the Navajos and had no written form at that time, so a person who didn’t know the oral vocabulary was helpless.

Johnston tried several times to convince the Navy his idea had merit, but failed. “It was a call to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt that finally convinced the Navy to give his idea a shot,” said John Goodluck Sr., a Marine Corps Navajo code talker during the war.

For the test, he said, the military set radios 300-400 yards apart and sent coded messages using both Navajo code talkers and regular Morse code machines. “The code talkers deciphered the message in under a minute, the machine took an hour,” Goodluck said. After military approval, the Navajo council had to decide whether to support the idea.

“Everyone on the council was for it except for one. They slept on it for a night and decided to do it — they said it was good and important to support it,” he said. Goodluck and others went to Camp Pendleton, Calif., for Marine Corps basic training and code- talking school and then headed to the Pacific. Eventually, 379 code talkers would serve.

“Some say there were 400, but many failed,” Goodluck said. “You had to understand both Navajo and English.”

Code talkers’ messages were strings of seemingly unrelated Navajo words. They would translate each word into English, and then decipher the message by using only the first letter of each English word. For example, several Navajo words could be used to represent the letter “a” — “wol-la-chee” (ant), “be-la-sana” (apple) and “tse-nill” (ax). The code was unbreakable so long as an eavesdropper didn’t know the oral vocabulary.

While the Navajos used more than one word to represent letters, about 450 common military terms had no equivalent and were assigned code words. For example, “division” was “ashih-hi” (salt); “America” was “Ne-he-mah” (Our mother); “fighter plane” was “da-he-tih-hi” (hummingbird); “submarine” became “besh-lo” (iron fish); and “tank destroyer” was “chay-da-gahi-nail-tsaidi” (tortoise killer).

Just by speaking their language, the Navajos could easily transmit information on tactics and troop movements, orders and other vital battlefield communications over telephones and radios. “We were always on the radio. We would see a ship or airplane and tell them what we saw,” Goodluck said.

Goodluck said he served in the 3rd Marine Division from March 1943 to December 1945 and participated in the invasions of Guadalcanal and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, Guam and Iwo Jima.

After the war, Goodluck returned to Arizona and worked for the U.S. Public Health Service as a truck driver, ambulance driver and translator for English-speaking physicians on the reservations. “They didn’t have doctors or clinics on the reservations when I first started. The nurses had to carry these huge bags and would give the shots to people in the areas we visited,” he recalled.

The Department of Defense officially and openly honored its Native American code talkers in 1992. The services enlisted code talkers from many tribes during the war. While their purpose was a kind of open secret then, their contributions were still largely unknown to the public. Now, however, the Navajo code talker exhibit is a regular stop on the Pentagon tour.

Cpl. Cullen James is a staff writer for the Scout newspaper at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.



Charles Joyce Chibitty
1921 – 2005


Charles Joyce Chibitty, 83 of Tulsa, ,Oklahoma, departed us on July 20, 2005.

He passed on after battling a long illness. he was the last of the Comanche Code Talkers from World War II. He was also a retired glass worker. He was very proud to be a World War II veteran and Native American.

Charles enjoyed speaking about both, especially to younger generations. He traveled across the U.S. to speak about what he had done in the war. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; son, Sonny and a daughter, Pam. He will be remembered by many as a true hero, great dad and very dear friend. He is survived by his granddaughter, Lacey, which he has been raising as his own daughter for the past 13 years; two grandsons. Charlie was presented with the Knowlton Award in recognition of his significant contributions to military intelligence efforts. Along with16 other Comanche Indians, Charlie was part of the Army’s 4th Signal Company, also known as the Code Talkers. The unit was instrumental during the Normandy invasion. After attending Haskell Indian School at Lawrence, Kan., he enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1941. Cpl. Chibitty earned the World War II Victory Medal, the European Theater of Operations – 5th Bronze Star – Victory Medal, the Europe African Middle East Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was also a champion boxer in the Army. In 1989, the French Government honored the Comanche Code Talkers by presenting them the “Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.” In 1992, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney presented Charlie a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty has also received a special proclamation from the Governor of Oklahoma who honored him for his contribution both to Oklahoma and the United States. He was also nationally known for his Indian championship dancing.

Eulogy for a Veteran ; Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the mornings hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I.. am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.

My Impression of Charles Chibitty

– By Geoffrey Armstrong Wright – My impression of him is fragmented. But I think that I found the central fragment, the core of his character. It seems as though, sitting down to a symphony, I heard only the finale. What fascinates me is that Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing of ending. As long as wind -‘blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know. He is the result of love, tears, tradition, change, freedom, exile and most of all, pain. The loss of one’s wife is the loss of one’s whole present self. The loss of one’s children is the loss that was never meant to be. Charlie has survived both. I cannot, imagine how he escapee! depression. He still smiles. Smiles more than. I do, and I am only twenty-one; have all life and roads before rne, and –:. no one I love has died. The spirit of the wind truly abides with him. He spends his days like the wind spends itself: wild and with flair. He is, for all intents and purposes, though no offense is intended, a showoff. It seems he needs to be. Everything an average man would share with his wife and boast to his son, he flashes to neighbors and acquaintances in snips of newspapers and snatches of “that was when….” The center of his character is transformation. In this one man, this single Indian, there is vintage Comanche blood, and a modern American standard of living. There is the sediment of age and a volcanic youth embodied in his adopted daughter. Dominating the horizon, there is a burial mound. But by its side and next to his heart, there is a stone – and it is rolled away. Charlie Chibitty, like the wind, is just passing through…and might just circle around again.

Funeral Services for Charles “Charlie” Chibitty

As representatives of the YL-37 Group, Gerald and I joined the many hundreds to the entry of the Chapel as flute music played to sign the guest book outside. We made our way inside with standing room only for the Memorial services for a good father, brother, patriot and the last Comanche Code Talker (Saw you woo kee) Charlie Chibitty. Standing next to Lisa Pahsetopah the ministers wife we reminisced a few moments on Charlie and his good sense of humor who was always ready for a joke. I told her of his blessing of YL-37 and meeting the Marines of Squadron HMM-362 the Ugly Angels and she told me of him being a mentor for her husband and there time in the TV series Walker Texas Ranger and the many powwows’ they were together. The room fell silent as Mike Pahsetopah began by thanking all who came to show their respect for such a hero. Many in Native American regalia from fancy beadwork to the Comanche princess hi full regalia they came. Comanche members of the congregation sang two tribal hymns followed by two Kiowa hymns. An announcement was made that if there were any other tribes present they were welcome to sing also. A creek song was sung. A drum was brought in and an old friend who had known Charlie since 1940 led the drum group as they sang songs that Charlie had asked to be sung many times. Everyone stood as a True Memorial Song began followed by a Chief Song and I’ll See You Again. Two tribal members brought a Sovo drum and gourd rattle forward and two songs were sung. Two medicine men in war bonnets made their way up the isle with cedar smoke to purify and cleanse the coffin and the immediate family starting with his adopted granddaughter Lacey and grandsons. A song written for Comanche Code talkers was sung by Kricket Rhoads at Lacey’s request as this song was sung many times by the two girls for Charlie. Mike gave the eulogy stating the Charlie was born N. of Lawton and had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. He went to Chilocco Indian School and enjoyed Boxing and continued to box after enlisting in the Army in 1941. Around the drum another song was sung entitled Dressed and looking our Best Fancy dancers were asked to join in. About ten dancers answered his call and came forward to dance. What a great site to see, as they were some of the best. Charlie was also a fancy dancer who preformed many times in this category at powwows. A message by Mike continued as he once again told of Charlie being his mentor who taught him many things one being the correct protocol in entering the powwow arena. He quoted many scripture verses starting with John 11 Verse 24. John 14 Verse 1-6 He said that Charlie belonged to the Native American Church. A prayer was said and Mike encouraged the congregation to pray for the family and practice 2nd Timothy 4-7. Paula Chibitty came forward and talked about her grandfathers all being in the service, as was she from 1996-2000. She said that she knew he was in a better place and was at peace. She was happy to carry such a well-respected name. Wallace Coffee, Chairman of the Comanche tribe introduced all the Chibitty family which were many in number and told about them coming from the line of Ten Bears. He stated that of the 17 Comanche code talkers 3 were discharged and never served. He talked about a Monument in Lawton erected to honor the Comanche Code talkers. A frequent saying of Charlie’s was” He wished all who served as Comanche Code Talkers could be with him” as honors were later bestowed upon him. Wallace thanked all non Indian Veterans who were in attendance. Jesse Burns -Scottish rite did the honors, as Charlie was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Tulsa. The Comanche singers sang many songs as the congregation viewed the body. Tune passed and the Chapel remained full as many came from outside. As we made our way single file up the isle the voices of the singers filled our hearts with sadness as the native songs could be heard with an occasional baby cry that seemed to echo our creators plan for us, WE go on. Many, many braved the near 100 degree weather to follow the hearse while others walked to the Veteran Field of Honor as he was laid to rest with a Comanche color guard, 21 gun salute, taps and War Mothers song along with Code Talker songs on the drum accompanied by singers. 4 Hours passed quickly as we made our way to go as far as we could and say goodbye with the last handshake. -A fistful of dirt taken from the grave to sprinkle on his casket.- Wado – Thank You Charlie, We will never forget you and you will be forever in our memories a reminder of the day you made your way to Inola to bless YL-37 the old girl who has a soul and meet other brave men the Marines of HMM-362 the Ugly Angels. Oh

– Lillian Hail


OBITUARY – Charles Chibitty

July 28, 2005

OBITUARY - Charles Chibitty
November 20, 1921 - July 20, 2005

Comanche code-talker whose messages in his native
tongue baffled German attempts to read American
signals on D-Day.

WHEN the US Army sought a code for its forces in
the North West Europe theatre that the Germans
would be unable to decipher, it turned to a group
of Comanches of whom Charles Chibitty was the last
survivor. Like the much larger numbers of Navajos,
who performed a similar function for US forces in
the Pacific theatre, Chibitty and his select group
of colleagues provided a secure medium for trans-
mitting messages between HQs and units which
totally baffled the enemy.

One of a number of Uto-Aztecan languages scattered
across the western United States and northern
Mexico, the Comanche tongue was ideal as a secret
code. By the outbreak of war, after decades
of proscription by the US authorities, the
language was spoken by very few people - today only
800 speak it - and it had no written alphabet.
- One was not adopted until 1994.

From the moment the Americans landed on Utah and
Omaha beaches German specialists monitoring signal
traffic were mystified by the sounds they heard
coming over their receivers, and remained so during
the rest of the campaign, as they vainly tried to
crack the American  "code". They were never to know,
for example, that the sound which they heard as
"posah tai vo"  was the Comanche for â"crazy white
man", and referred to their supreme warlord,
Adolf Hitler.

Charles Chibitty was born in 1921 near Medicine
Park, Oklahoma.  From the late 1800s onwards there
had been discrimination against native American
languages and, like many Comanche children before
him, he was educated in a boarding school, Haskell
Indian School,in Lawrence, Kansas. There he was
required to speak only English, and like his
schoolmates he was punished if he did otherwise.

This atmosphere changed when war came. The use
of native American languages as codes in wartime
was not new. In the First World War Choctaw had
been used as a means of rendering messages
unreadable by the enemy, and had played an
important role in the Meuse-Argonne battle of
September-October 1918.

In January 1941, before the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbour had led to America's direct
involvement in the conflict, Chibitty was
one of 20 Comanches from Oklahoma who enlisted
and were selected for special communications
duty in the European theatre.

They were trained at Fort Benning, Georgia,
where they compiled a vocabulary of military
terms. Since the Choctaw language was not rich
in the vocabulary of modern warfare, Chibitty
and his comrades had to improvise. Thus, since
Comanche had no word for "tank", the code-
talkers, as they were known, substituted the
word "turtle". For "Âmachinegun" they decided
on "sewing machine", while"bomber"
became  "pregnant aeroplane".

As Allied forces built up in the vast armed
camp England had become by early 1944,
Chibitty and his colleagues crossed the Atlantic
and prepared to go ashore on the Normandy beaches
on D-Day. For the assault, Chibitty was one of
the two Comanches who were attached to each of
the regiments of the 4th Infantry Division, which
was commanded by General Joseph "Lightning Joe"

This landed on Utah Beach on the right flank of
the Allied landings, and Chibitty sent the first
Commanche message on D-Day which, in English,
read: â"Five miles to the right of the designated
area and five miles inland the fighting is fierce,
and we need help.".../snip/

...Charles Chibitty, Comanche code talker, was
born on November 20, 1921.  

He died on July 20, 2005, aged 83.


Volunteers like Mr. Chibitty were key to the U.S. and allied forces’ success from Normandy to Berlin —Arthur L. Money, Assistant Secretary of Defense – The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, 1999

Comanche Code Talker Charles Chibitty attending the dedication of the Comanche Nation Memorial to the Comanche Code Talkers in Lawton, OK.

Eventually, Charles Chibitty and the other Comanche Code Talkers were recognized around the world for their contributions. Charles was honored at the Pentagon on three occasions. He was awarded special recognition from the Secretary of Defense and the Governor of Oklahoma. He received the Knowlton Award, a special honor from the Military Intelligence Association. He was invited to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. He was invited to speak at countless gatherings from small community centers to large national events. When he spoke, he always mentioned his fellow Comanche Code Talkers. He wished that they had received the same awards and recognition that he did, but by the time the recognition for Comanche Code Talkers began, many of them had already passed away. Charles was the last surviving Comanche code talker at the time of his death in 2005. Geoffrey Wright wrote this about him: “Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing or ending. As long as wind blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know.” – “YL-37 Flies Again: Charles Joyce Chibitty,” in YL-37 Group Foundation Inc., 2005

[Charles sings] That’s the Comanche “Code Talker Song.” And then when we was all living when they sang it, we would always get together and dance and boy, they all come out. Now, I’m the only one living.—Charles Chibitty, Comanche Code Talker, National Museum of the American Indian interview, 2004


The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II

By William C. Meadows


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Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm  Comments (9)  

Choctaw Stickball

Choctaw StickballStickball has been a part of Choctaw life for hundreds of years. Opposing teams use handcrafted sticks or kabocca, and a woven leather ball, or towa. Each team tries to advance the ball down the field to the other team’s goalpost using only their sticks, never touching or throwing the ball with their hands. Points are scored when a player hits the opposing team’s goalpost with the ball.

The earliest historical reference to Choctaw stickball was a Jesuit priest’s account of a stickball game around 1729. During that period, the Choctaws lived in towns and villages scattered across the area that is now southern Mississippi. When disputes arouse between these communities, stickball provided a peaceful way to settle the issue. These games were hard-fought contests that cold involve as few as twenty or as many as 300 players.

Choctaw Stickball2 In his book The Mississippi Choctaws at Play: The Serious Side of Leisure, anthropologist Kendall Blanchard describes what an 18th century game might of looked like:

“The nature of the playing field was never strictly defined. The only boundaries were the two goalposts at either end of the playing area and these could be anywhere from 100 feet to five miles apart, as was the case in one game in the 19th century…”There were no boundaries on the sides of the playing field, and the game’s action simply followed the ball. Many times spectators were rousted from comfortable vantage points as the fleet-footed, fast-swinging…athletes scrambled after a far-flung pass…

“The rules, like the layout of the playing field, were ambiguous and limited to only three or four stipulations. Of primary importance was the restriction that no player was to touch the ball with his hands, using instead only his sticks to carry and throw the small ball. At no time were spectators allowed to interfere with the process. If they did, a penalty was assessed against their team…

“While players could tackle, block, or use any reasonable method to interfere with the other team’s movement of the ball, there were implicit limits to acceptable violence.”

Mississippi Choctaws continue to play stickball. When the first Choctaw Fair was held in 1949, stickball was an important event, but it involved only a handful of teams. Today, anywhere from 8 to 10 teams meet during the fair in a single-elimination tournament. The championship game closes out the fair, with the fans filling the Choctaw Central High School football stadium to cheer their teams on.

Choctaw Stickball3Modern stickball has a few more rules than tis historical predecessor. These are printed and distributed to all players before the fair begins. The game is played in four fifteen-minute quarters. Players still score points by hitting a post which is set up in the middle of the football goal post. They still advance the ball without touching it, using their kabocca. The appearance of the players is different, too. For most of the 20th century, players wore handmade uniforms consisting of pants hemmed just below the knee and open-necked, pullover shirts. These were made in the community colors and decorated with the diamond patterns found on traditional clothing. In the late 1970’s, there uniform gave way to gym shorts, but many players now wear headbands with the diamond design in community colors.

Stickball, as it is played today, remains a uniquely Choctaw sport and a symbol of tribal identity. So that boys will have a chance to develop their skills there are two age divisions for young people’s teams. Occasionally, women’s teams will take the field in exhibition matches.

The resurgence of interest in stickball has kept several Choctaw craftsmen busy. The kabocca and towa used by the players have to be handmade. The kabocca are carved from hickory and bent at one end to shape the cup of the stick. then leather or deer hide thongs are tied to make the pocket in which the players catch and carry the ball. The towa is made from cloth tightly wrapped around a small stone or piece of wood. Once it is wrapped to the desired size, the maker weaves a leather thong over the cloth.

Information taken from:
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Website

A fast and furious game of stickball
Photo:© Choctaw Community News
More on Indian Stickball
Did you know that Indian stickball is an official part of the Mississippi State Games? Stickball is a hard game to play; it’s something like lacrosse with no protective gear. The towa and kabocca, stickball equipment, have to be handmade, and the game has more rules today than it did long ago. Choctaw kids also play many other sports and have a basketball and soccer camp.
Getting the feel of the kabocca
Getting the feel of the kabocca
Photo:© Choctaw Community News

More facts about Choctaws:

Eastern Mississippi is home to the Mississippi Choctaws. In the 1800s the United States government forced many Choctaws to move to Oklahoma, along with other tribes. The United States wanted Choctaw land for white settlers. At one time the Choctaws lived in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, too.

Have you heard of the Code Talkers? Choctaw was one of the first Indian languages used in World War I to send secret messages for the U.S. Army. The enemy never figured it out, and the Choctaw soldiers were honored for their contribution. Choctaw language is still very important to the Choctaw people, who work hard to protect it from extinction.

There are language programs in schools, and language classes are part of summer camps. Besides learning Choctaw, students learn how to design Web pages. Many kids like using the digital camera and image-editing software the best. Students put lots of information about Choctaws on the Web, including the Choctaw Fair.

The Choctaw Fair is a weeklong event held every July. There are pageants, cultural exhibits, Choctaw social dancers from each community, rides, entertainers, and tons of visitors from all over. You can have traditional food like holhponi, or fresh hominy. Visitors can see Choctaw artists make their famous swampcane baskets in the museum, or attend the Stickball World Series.

Reservations/Communities: one reservation each in
Louisiana & Mississippi; one community in Oklahoma
Total population: 158,774
Some people to learn about:
Owanah Anderson [1926– ], Oklahoma Episcopal Church leader, women’s rights activist
Philip Martin [1926– ], Mississippi tribal leader
Phil Lucas [contemporary], Oklahoma film producer, director
Poarch Band of Creeks, Chitimachas, Tunica-Biloxis

Web links:

NOTE FROM CHERYL: I have some of my own stickball pictures I will try to post at a later date. I have watched the Mississippi Choctaws play stickball… The roughness/toughness of NFL Football is NOTHING compared to Indian stickball. They carry players off massively bleeding, on stretchers. It’s the most intensive amateur athletics I’ve ever seen in my life. I wonder if Tommie Harris would be tough enough to hang with some of our Choctaw boys? Ha! Oh… he probably could – for a minute or two anyway!

YouTube – real choctaw stickball




The game of stickball has been played by the Choctaw in Mississippi for 400 years and at one time was used in place of war to settle disputes between Native American groups. The modern sport lacrosse is a direct descendant of stickball. The game is extremely fast-paced and physical, but simple. The only two rules are that players can’t touch the ball with their hands and can only tackle someone in possession of the ball (body checks are legal anytime). The field consists of a pole at either end and the purpose of the game is to hit the opponents’ pole with a ball comparable to a hackey sack. In the process, players can receive some nasty wounds from rough play and being hit by the kabocca.

Many times, Choctaw stickball teams travel to festivals for competitions, and they are a tough opponent. The Choctaw often will try to trick their opponents, using different strategies and techniques each time they play. But when the Choctaw play on the reservation, they don’t hold back! To the Choctaw, it’s not just a sport, it’s part of their identity and they don’t like to lose. They’ve been playing it since they could walk and every game is an intense game. THEY TAKE THEIR STICKBALL SERIOUS, FOLKS!

You’ll have to check out the Moundville Native American Festival in Alabama held every fall, and the festival at the Choctaw reservation in Mississippi held in the spring. It would be an experience you would never forget!
Moundville Native American Festival
Muscogee (Creek) Indians demonstrate stomp dancings @ Moundville Festival
Native American performing artists, craftspeople, and musicians entertain and educate visitors each October at the Moundville Native American Festival. This year’s festival is October 4-7.Attracts 16,000 visitors annually to the park, located 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa off state Highway 69.
County JuneFest Replaces Dawg Days Festival
Choctaw County, MS
Posted by roboblogger Feb 22, 2008
Due to the dawg days of summer heat Choctaw County
will host a new festival, JuneFest, held on June 6-7. JuneFest
will replace the traditional Dawg Days of Summer festival
in hopes of attracting larger crowds …
Great Stickball pics & articles:
Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 6:33 am  Comments (4)  

Chahta Anumpa: Brief Numbers Lesson

Choctaw: [Chah-ta] [pronounced CHOCK-tah]

One (1): Achafa [v-ch’ vf-fv]

Two (2): Tuklo [tuk-lu]

Three (3): Tuchina [túch-che-nv]

Four (4): Ushta [ush-tv]

Five (5): Talapi [tálh-lha-pi]

Six (6): Hannali [h’vn-na-li]

Seven (7): Untuklo [ o-túk-lu]

Eight (8): Untuchina [ o-túch-che-nv]

Nine (9): Chakkali [chák-ka-li]

Ten (10): Pokoli [pók-ko-li]

Vowels & distinctions of the Choctaw Language:

The three Choctaw vowels may be described as [a], [i], & [oo] or nasal [ã], [i with ~ – ie: like the ã sorry, no symbol available], & [o with ~ – ie: like the ã, sorry, no symbol available]. The Choctaw short [a] may be written with the Greek letter upsilon, v; with a script v, v; or even with the letter v. It is pronounced rather like the vowels in English hut; love. It is never pronounced like the sound in the English word moon. Because the standard Choctaw orthography was developed by a white missionary, final short [a] is spelled not with v, but with a, reflecting the English spelling convention of writing final schwa sounds (which sound very much like Choctaw short [a]) with the letter a. Additionally, initial short [a] is often spelled a (ie: all the vowels in achvffa are short [a], even though they are spelled in both v and a.)

Long [i] is spelled: e (ie: tuchena [tuch-che-nv] = ‘three’

Short [o] is generally spelled u but is never pronounced like the English vowel u, as in duty or cute. As is the case for short [a], some short [o] sounds appear at the end of a word, but because of interference from English spelling conventions, short [o] is almost never spelled u when it appears at the end of a word; it is nearly always spelled o. Tuklo has two short [o] vowels, but the final one is spelled o.


Rhythmic lengthening: iti achvffa (one tree: iti=tree; achvffa=one): the first three syllables are light. This environment causes the second syllable of iti to be lengthed: iti achvffa → i-tii-a-chvf-fa. Note: In sentence structure, verb is placed before the noun.

However, if a string of light syllables is interrupted by a heavy syllable or if the phrase ends, there is no rhythmic lengthening. For example, iti tuklo (two trees: iti=tree; tuklo=two) does not trigger rhythmic lengthening in the second syllable of iti: iti tuklo → i-ti-tuk-lo.

Note: An accented syllable receives a higher pitch than the other syllables. If there is no accented syllable, the word is pronounced with even stress on each syllable.

Reference: Choctaw Language & Culture – Chahta Anumpa by Marcia Haag and Henry Willis, University of Oklahoma Press: Norman; www.ou.edu/oupress; Cover Illustration by Cheryl Davis © 2001; ISBN 0-8061-3339-2


Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  

The Old Ways

Every new generation faces the job of raising children. Though we may live in a time very different from our grandparents, we have the same responsibilities as parents as they did. We must nurture and protect our children, help them learn society’s beliefs and values, and the skills they will need to survive as adults.

For hundreds of years, Indian parents were guided by traditions that never left parenting to chance. These traditions were passed from one generation to the next. The traditions may have varied from one tribe to the next, but they all have the same purpose – to ensure the tribe’s future through its children. Unfortunately, many of these traditions have declined in our families because of the influence of the dominant society. While we cannot go back to the world as it once was, we can still find great value in the child-rearing traditions. They can make our job as modern parents a richer experience. Here are some of the child-rearing practices from our heritage.

Many tribes believed that children were special gifts from the Creator. The tribal elders used praise and reassurance to encourage positive and loving relationships between parents and their children. Prophecies were often made about the worth of a child and his or her future. The whole community recognized a child’s growth and development through rites of passage ceremonies. These ceremonies were important for the child, too. The naming ceremony, for example, helped a child establish his or her identity in the tribe.

Nurturing was an important part of traditional child rearing. The use of cradle-boards, for example meant that infants were rarely separated from their mothers. However, no one person carried the whole burden of raising a child. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins were always nearby to help when parents had other responsibilities. Sometimes extended family members had specific roles to play (i.e. grandfather, the storyteller, uncle, the disciplinarian).

Through the telling of stories and legends, children learned about proper relationships with other people and the environment. They were taught to be good listeners and to regard words as sacred. Children were also taught to be good observers and to understand the meaning of non-verbal communication.

We can see the important elements of positive parenting in our old ways. Children were respected and understood. Parent and child relationships were important, and communication was well developed. Moral development received constant and careful attention.

Now we live in a world much different from our elders. It is very complex, with many outside influences. Yet our child-rearing practices from the past provide strong models for parenting today. (Reprinted from Northwest Indian Child Welfare Institute, Positive Indian Parenting, 1988)


A Note from Cheryl: I believe that children must be shown respect in order for them to know how to give respect. Teaching them values, respect for others and helping them acquire a strong sense of who they are and who they come from helps give them a strong foundation to build on.

Share with your children the old ways. Teach them to value their elders and their teachings. Instill a solid sense of identity in your children to assure that they have a solid core. Be aware that it is natural for a child to constantly seek love, security and affirmation. It is vital that this comes from their family. If they don’t find it at home, they will always seek it elsewhere. When strong, loving relationships between parents (or, in the event there are no parents, family) and children are created, children naturally desire to please their parents and do not want to disappoint them. The bond that is formed and the love that is established will transcend most external obstacles.

Simply speaking, children who are loved, valued, respected and gently guided along the red road will grow up feeling loved, valued, respected and will most likely continue their journey on the red road. Children exactly mirror their parents. In raising up your children, see that you carefully reflect the type of person you desire your children to be.

“Strength in Tradition”

We have a wider, clearer vision. . .

and a surer step.

Each of us must reach inside, and

in our children. . . invest.

Give of ourselves, guide their steps and

lay a solid foundation.

By connection. . . they will choose their path,

May it be richly blessed in… inner strength & tradition.

By Cheryl Davis © 1998

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Qualities of a Great Dancer

Strength in Tradition by Cheryl Davis

Strength in Tradition by Cheryl Davis © 1998

What qualities make up a great dancer? From what sources do they draw from? I enjoyed reading the following internet posts on this subject & hope that you will enjoy them as well.

Gledanh Zhinga – Blacksmith wrote: A “great” straight style can’t be described with words, but I can put forth opinions, ideas, and suggestions.

All of your joints should be “unlocked” (the Chinese say this about tai chi chuan). With the feet, you can “glide“, toe-flat, or flat-flat, but fairly smoothly and with equilibrium. On the accent beat, the foot can be moved forward and suspended in air, what horsemen call “dwelling” in a horse’s gait, but the dancer must be “hot” to make this look good. Abe Conklin could do it. The body can be low, bent, and angular, especially after the “goshga beats”, but not necessarily just then. You can come off the bench low. The old Kaw dancers were good at that. When they got near the drum, they would then turn to go sun-wise. Bill Wahnee and Gary Begay have that angular style. After all, “straight” does not mean to be like a telephone pole. Unfortunately, many judges nowadays think that straight means upright. Duh! Hullo!

George “Woogie” Watchetaker, Comanche, dressed fancy feather when he “came out of retirement” in the 1950’s, but he had a wonderful angular, straight style, even while in a fancy contest. I’ve never seen the beat of it.

Straight dancers move sun-wise, unless maybe you’re heading for the drum before you turn to go sun-wise. While circling the drum of course, you can zig-zag, follow curves and arcs, go low, and go semi-high.

Many dancers don’t use their head and furthermore, their shoulders are stiff. Smokey Lookout, when dancing, looked as though his neck was hinged…lots of movement. I enjoyed watching that. The great head movement comes toward the end of a kind of bodily whiplash. It is a subtle body ripple, hard to explain. It is NOT just bobbing and nodding your head.

The Historian gave us words to some songs above, and you’ll notice that he wrote them in phrases, so to speak, line by line. Generally, the songs are sung that way; the songs are sung with “phrasing”, and the good or great dancer will dance to the phrasing. This is difficult to explain, and is not always easy to do, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the song. However, a “great” dancer will rapidly “catch” a song’s phrasing, even without knowing the song. An example of this would be to slightly “duck and dive” or change direction at the end of certain phrases (pardon the Northern expression). If the dancer knows the song’s meaning, as the Historian mentioned, then this adds a psychological dimension, which may aid the dancer’s style. This is subtle stuff, and many judges wouldn’t know a phrased dance statement from apple butter.

I personally don’t care to see the tail stick touch the ground, nor do I dance in small circles. I like to keep things moving sunwise, similar to a war party on the move (Bill Wahnee’s ideas on straight dancing).

I think to kick off the last beat looks OK for a proper tail dancer, because he continues that statement by turning and going to the bench. I don’t think it looks too good in a contest. To me, it appears ungainly.

One of the awful things a dancer can do is to put the first of his two foot beats (same leg) on the unaccented beat of the song. George Flying Eagle, Taos/Navajo, calls this ha ha “dancing on the wrong side of the drum”. Now, sometimes the drum will screw up, and perhaps a singer will start the song on the wrong beat, say the intro on the second push-up. A good or great dancer will pause, and get on the beat again.

This sometimes happens with a drum of young men who are still learning. I was present a couple of years ago, when a traditional lady dancer verbally chewed out a contest drum for changing the beat over and over again. The boys looked confused. I think what she told them might have just collectively parted their hair.

Finally, I met a female flamenco dancer recently, and she asked me whether, when I straight danced, was it “from the heart”, as in flamenco dancing. I replied, “Yes, I certainly don’t want to dance from the head!”

Travelingmocs wrote: A person needs to be smooth and light footed. Like all over dance styles you need to know the songs. You have to love to dance. Man when you see tape of the late greats like Abe Conklin, Johnny Hughes, and for the people who were around back in the day to see the old dancers. When you would see them dance you would know what its all about. Its hard to sit here and say what the style is all about. To really understand it you need to spend time out where it comes from, “Oklahoma,” and spend time with (the) elders…

Cherosage wrote: A sense of a smoothness in your step. An understanding of the style and what it represents. Knowing the songs and the different steps to go with the right song. The willingness to learn the right way of dancing, and knowing the the difference. Imitation is an honor to the one being imitated. Dance in the dances that the best dance and do what is correct.

Beth said… “Dance it from you heart. It is the same with singing. you have to feel the song from inside.”

Trudanny wrote… ladies that dance on beat, fringe that “snaps”, poise, graceful movement… outfits that are well done: beadwork is a slow process and takes much dedication. All dancers have a reason behind the designs they pick… traditional or the newer “intertribal” designs… it’s all good…. as for off the arena floor, there are ladies that carry themselves well, and dance for the love of it. those qualities shine through when they’re dancing….”

It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot

Beautifully said.

And what about knowing a song’s meaning?

Historian posted the following: “…when a dancer knows the words of a song (both the literal translation and the story implied behind the words), then that can affect the dancer’s style as he interprets the song’s meaning in a way that he feels it. Below are some examples of a couple song translations as I understand them.Ponca Hethuska Song:
A-wa-ki noN-shko-na la
A-wa-ki noN-shko-na la
A-wa-ki noN-shko-na la
A-wa-ki noN-shko-na la
“SiN-te Gle-shka,” ha noN-cu-le-ga zhu-wa-gla igla
Da-ha-wa-ge ga-ma zha-ma no-i, ha ya hi ya
MaN-zi u-wa-la ge shko-na shoN-zhiN-ga la la
ShoN-zhiN-ga da-ha-wa-ge gli-za-ga
English Translation:
Do you want to fight me?
Do you want to fight me?
Do you want to fight me?
Do you want to fight me?
“Spotted Tail,” hurry and come with your group.
Get your shield, I’m not afraid of you.
Over these yellow cliffs, to fight me, young Lakota.
Young Lakota get your shield and prepare.
Commentary by Sylvester Warrior, Headman of the Ponca Hethuska from 1958 to 1973:
“Awaki nonshokona, ‘do you want to fight me’? Sinte Gleshka, we happen to know that word. It’s the name of a Siouan war leader. It means, ‘Spotted Tail,’ Sinte Gleshka. Nonculega zhuwagla igla, ‘hurry and come with your group’ to fight. ‘I’m not afraid of you’. Manzi uwala ge shkona shonzhinga dahawage glizaga, ‘do you want to fight over these yellow cliffs’? Shonzhinga, ‘young Sioux,’ dahawagle glizaga, ‘get your shield, prepare’ to fight. Of course it doesn’t actually say all that, but that’s what it means.”
Commentary by a member of the Ponca Hethuska Society:
“My favorite translation is one that concerns a Ponca war party and a group of Lakota led by Spotted Tail. The meaning of this particular song says this: The two groups encounter each other and begin preparations to fight. The Poncas call out to Spotted Tail, who had obviously been calling insults, ‘Hurry! And come with your group Spotted Tail, we’re not afraid of you.’ Then it seems one of the Ponca men spots a young Sioux warrior and wants to test his courage. The Ponca taunts the boy by calling out, ‘Young Sioux! Get your shield and prepare to fight.’ The song mentions the ‘yellow cliffs’ which are located in the northeastern part of Nebraska near the South Dakota border. It seems that whoever controlled these cliffs used them as a sentinel post and could maintain control of a vast area by executing surprise attacks on any intruders.”
Omaha Hethushka Song:
(vocables in first part of song)
She-thiN the thiN, doN-ba ge, tho he
She-thiN the thiN, doN-ba ga
Ha doN-ba ga, ha doN-ba ge, tho he the
“A-ga-ha-moN-thiN,” doN-ba ge, tho he tho-e
English Translation:
(vocables in first part of song)
Yonder that one going, behold him.
Yonder that one going, behold him.
Really behold him, really behold him.
“Walks Outside,” behold him.
Commentary by A. Fletcher and Francis LaFlesche:
“The words are few, an exclamation bidding the people to behold, to look on A’gahamoNthiN, and would be quite unintelligible but for the story which gave rise to the song. A’gahamoNthiN died in the early part of the last century (early 1800s). He was a man of great valor. He had won and received all the public war honors but he was not satisfied. At each meeting of the Hethu’shka Society all through one Fall and Winter he would rise and declare: ‘During the next battle in which I take part I will drag an enemy from his horse or die in the attempt!’ The following Summer, when the Omaha were on the buffalo hunt, the tribe was attacked by the Yankton and a fierce encounter took place. True to his word, A’gahamoNthiN charged the line, dragged a Yankton from his horse, and slew him. Almost immediately A’gahamoNthiN was killed. In emulation of his courage the Omaha made a desperate charge on the Yankton and defeated them. This song was composed to commemorate the warrior who made good his promise and in so doing saved his people. Of A’gahamoNthiN it was said, ‘He spoke a word and chased it to his death’.”

“Be good, be kind, help each other.”
“Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other.”
(Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage, 1926-1995)

Source of Postings can be found @:
Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 9:26 pm  Comments (1)  

Native American ‘Give-Away’ Tradition

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought it would be nice to post something on the Native American custom of the ‘give-away’ which is practiced at honor dances, weddings, and on many other occasions. It is a beautiful practice. For example, when an honor dance is held for a particular person, that person (or the family of that person) is the gift-giver and the gifts are given to the guests. In most other societies, it is the exact opposite, in that the honored one is the person who ‘expects the gifts from the guests.’

In the Native culture, many times ‘the most valuable’ is saved to give away and ‘storing or hording things’ is not understood. There is a high value placed on giving away and sharing what is ours. Once something is given away, all strings to that gift are broken. The gift is given with no expectations. Native people believe that what is given always comes back to the giver in one way or another in another form of good. Native people also believe that bad (intentions, actions, etc.) results in bad returning to the doer. I believe that one of the greatest gift is when you give your time to others, in whatever form it is given. Although it is now the season for giving, it is good and healthy to be generous in spirit throughout the year. It is always the giver who receives the greatest blessing.

I found a post, which puts it beautifully: Enjoy.

The following post can be found at:
Posted by Sizzle –on 18-12-2007 @ 05:12 PM

Give-aways can be traced back to the tribes/nations of the mid-western and high plains. As with fry-bread, we don’t know the specific tribal tradition of origin. In the broad sense, a give-away is nearly the reverse of the majority culture’s understanding of gift giving. In the majority culture, the expectation is to receive gifts when being honored, recognized, or celebrated on special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations, retirements, political elections, or special appointments. Historically, in the Native American tradition, many nations/tribes have conducted a give-away when being honored. One gives to strangers, not simply hoping to make friends, but because it is the honorable thing to do. One gives to honor a relative, and this in turn honors that person in the eyes of the community. One gives when one seemingly has nothing to give.

Today the give-away practice continues in the communities and gatherings of many tribes and nations. It is being practiced more and more as Native Americans reclaim their traditions.
Ray Buckley, who is a Lakota/Tlingit, said that in many Native American cultures, what matters is not what someone has but what the person is able to give away to others.

“It is not the value of the gift, but the giving itself that is culturally relevant,” he said. “Giving a gift that may not have significant monetary worth, but significant spiritual or personal value is a sign of a giving heart.”
In the Lakota tradition, he said, all living things created by God are often referred to as “people.” The Lakotas have a phrase, “mitaque oyasin,” which means “all my relations” and refers to all human beings, four-legged animals, and those that can fly, swim and crawl. “In The Give-Away, the four-legged and those that can fly gather for council to discuss the needs of the two-legged (human beings). In an attempt to meet the needs of humanity, they offer the most precious parts of themselves. In the end, it is the Creator who chooses to give away the greatest gift for humankind — the Son of God,” Buckley said.

Because of a love for Christ that defied persecution, Native Christians survived “the cultural dismemberment that the church often brought,” he said. Native Christians have existed for more than 500 years and have left a legacy of music, testimony and art, he said.
Most of the Native cultures found the message of Jesus to be consistent with the “truth that God had given their ancestors,” he said. Some Native people found that the story of Christ’s birth fulfilled tribal prophecies. Some of those who chose Christianity also wanted to maintain their culture and worship God with expressions that were relevant to their traditions.“In many ways, Native people are beginning to gain confidence that the work of God within Native people has cultural significance not only to the church, but to the world at large,” Buckley said. “Native people, including Native Christians have much, and the desire to give away to the world.”

O’ Great Spirit

O’ Great Spirit by Cheryl Davis ©1989

Native American Prayer
by Emilia Walking

Oh Great Spirit
May we cherish the gifts of our creator
May we hold the beauty of the world close to our hearts
May we embrace the spirit of peace on earth.
May there come to all people during this sacred
season an abundance of the earths greatest gifts:
health, happiness and enduring friendships.

End of Post

Very nice, Ms. Walking…

Another Interesting Post Relating to ‘Give-Aways’:



News Archives

Giving ’Til It Heals

By Ray Buckley

If he hadn’t mentioned it, no one would have noticed that Bishop Bruce Blake was wearing moccasins. No one really looks at the feet of a bishop. Standing in front of the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., was a bishop wearing moccasins. They were not for show, but the honoring of a gift, demonstrated by the wearing.

With the moccasins came a story. It was a story that would change those listening.

“Many of you knew Tom Roughface, who was superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference for many years and an insightful leader who stirred us to action,” Bishop Blake began. “His death left a gaping hole in the life of the church. His loss was apparent, but now I want to share with you the rest of the story.”

He described for the crowd the honoring, give-away traditions which accompany Ponca funerals and those of other Native cultures. He spoke of the Roughface family, who in their time of loss chose to give-away to the community, offering gifts in the name of their father and grandfather. He said, “We were accustomed to friends giving to a bereaved family. We experienced the family giving to us.”

A year later, as the Ponca period of mourning ended, family and friends again gathered in White Eagle to offer gifts in honor of Tom Roughface. There Bruce Blake, the friend and colleague of Tom Roughface, was given moccasins to help keep him on the journey. Holding those moccasins, Bishop Blake was struck by the theme, “Give until it heals!”

Speaking to the United Methodist audience gathered from around the world, Bishop Blake spoke of giving as a means of healing. He spoke of giving with joy and of raising the standard of giving. He spoke of organizing lives around the Good News. He spoke while wearing moccasins and a beaded cross.

Throughout the crowd, like woven beads, were those who had seen the moccasins. They were Ponca, Kiowa, Tlingit, Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, Lumbee and others. They had seen the moccasins and were quiet. Never in the history of the United Methodist Church had a bishop worn moccasins. Never had a bishop worn moccasins to honor his friend. It was a quiet moment, but it was not unnoticed.

There was a memory of those in the audience that morning. There was a memory that for a time in the United States and Canada, the tradition of “giving-away” was against the law. Churches had condemned it as “squandering resources” and “impoverishing oneself.” To Native people, the give-away was a means to redistribute wealth among the community. It was a way to honor the life or memory of a loved one, and share with those around them. As Bishop Blake recalled, “The sharing was not in the form of words, but in the form of giving. Thousands of dollars of gifts were given to members of the tribe and friends. If persons needed food, the Roughface family gave them a basket of food. Others needed household supplies. The family gave them a basket of supplies.” As the Roughface family prepared for the give-aways, members of their community who were able donated blankets, money, cooking skills and prayers, so that they might give-away. Giving-away is a means of circular giving.

Some who were in the crowd had survived Native American boarding schools operated by denominations and the U.S. government. There, their hair had been cut. They were not allowed to speak their languages. They were taught to read by reading the Bible, and those who taught them to read the Bible beat them with sticks if they spoke their language. Their clothing, jewelry and traditional names were taken away. They were told that if they were to be Christian, they could not be Native. Some believed what they said. Some would not teach their children. But others believed that God could use their culture and lives to refresh the church. They waited, living out their faith, as Native people, who loved God and their cultures.

The moccasins that morning had become a gift of healing. They had become an affirmation that Native culture could be an offering, a give-away to the world. They became an affirmation that what God said was good, was good.

It was a quiet moment. Many would not have singled it out. A bishop stepped up to a microphone wearing moccasins. They were a gift from the family of a friend, but the gift had been much more. It had been a gift of sharing, of giving from the heart. And one believer had responded to another, put on the moccasins and shared them with the church. They were soft footsteps, but they were heard.

*Buckley is director of the Native People Communications Office at United Methodist Communications.



Totem Poles were a way for Northwest Native Americans to share information. They were part of their oral tradition and helped to tell other people about themselves and their families. Memorial Poles were carved to celebrate special events such as births or weddings. Totem Poles that are actually part of a house are House Post Totems, a Mortuary Pole is carved for the dead and the most common Totem Pole is the Family Totem Pole.

The Family Totem Pole used symbols to represent the power, wealth and standing of a family within their community. Often these poles were erected during a potlatch ceremony. Potlatch means to give away. These ceremonies could last for several days and would take months to plan and prepare for. During the potlatch, a clan would give away gifts and property to show their wealth and status. Sometimes they would even destroy their own property to prove that they were wealthy enough to replace it. The more a clan gave away the higher their status would go. The Kwakiutl was the most extravagant version of the potlatch. A recipient of a Kwakiutl potlatch gift would have to give away twice as much at the next potlatch. If someone were given two goat hair blankets at a potlatch they would be expected to give away four at the next potlatch. Sometimes, in order to repay this debt of kindness, a man might be forced to give away all his belongings. The potlatch could be used to honor friends or ruin enemies.

Each Totem Pole tells a story using magical creatures that can transform from human to animal or animal to human. They live in the Sky Realm, the Realm or the Underwater Realm. Some can travel between the realms and some are stuck in just one realm.

Each mystical animal/human has special or unusual characteristics. Beavers hate humans, Wolves are good drummers, the Devilfish or Octopus is attracted to the color red, Bears hate Thunderbirds and Frogs are associated with bringing great fortune or wealth. If you insult Frog he will tattle to Copper Woman who lives in the Undersea Realm and she will cause volcanic eruptions.

Many Europeans had the wrong idea when they first saw Totem Poles. They thought that they were horrible monsters that the Native American Indians worshiped as gods. Many early missionaries helped to destroy Totem Poles and discouraged the people from carving more. The art of carving Totem Poles almost died out but is now flourishing again as many people are now recognizing the beauty and significance of them.

Village Totem Poles in Alaska

End of Related Post

Published in: on December 27, 2007 at 6:21 am  Comments (7)  

Native American Soldiers: Warriors for Freedom


Native American Soldier



Native Americans in WWII by Thomas D. Morgan

[Excerpted from Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History, No. 35 (Fall 1995), pp. 22-27]

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “This generation has a rendezvous with destiny.” When Roosevelt said that he had no idea of how much World War II would make his prophecy ring true. More than fifty years later, Americans are remembering the sacrifices of that generation, which took up arms in defense of the nation. Part of that generation was a neglected minority, Native American Indians, who flocked to the colors in defense of their country. No group that participated in World War II made a greater per capita contribution, and no group was changed more by the war. As part of the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of World War II, it is fitting forth nation to recall the contributions of its own “first citizens.”

The Vanishing American
At the time of Christopher Columbus ‘ arrival in the New World, the Native American population living in what is now the United States was estimated at about one million. By 1880, only 250,000 Indians remained and this gave rise to the “Vanishing American” theory. By 1940, this population had risen to about 350,000.
During World War II more than 44,000 Native Americans saw military service. They served on all fronts in the conflict and were honored by receiving numerous Purple Hearts, Air Medals, Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, Distinguished Service Crosses, and three Congressional Medals of Honor. Indian participation in World War II was so extensive that it later became part of American folklore and popular culture.

The Warrior Image
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor seemed to waken an ancestral warrior spirit in many Native Americans. Thousands of young Indians went into the armed forces or to work in the war production plants that abruptly emerged during military and industrial mobilization. A 1942 survey indicated that 40 percent more Native Americans voluntarily enlisted than had been drafted. Lt. Ernest Childers (Creek), Lt. Jack Montgomery (Cherokee), and Lt. Van Barfoot (ChoctawW all of the famed 45th “Thunderbird” Infantry Division-won Medals of Honor in Europe. Childers had first distinguished himself in Sicily, where he received a battlefield commission. Later in Italy, unaided and despite severe wounds, he destroyed three German machine gun emplacements. During the Anzio Campaign in Italy, Montgomery attacked a German strong point single-handed, killing eleven of the enemy and taking thirty-three prisoners. During the breakout from Anzio to Rome, Barefoot knocked out two machine gun nests and captured seventeen prisoners. Subsequently, he defeated three German tanks and carried two wounded men to safety. All of these exploits reinforced the “warrior” image in the American mind. Maj. Gen. Clarence Tinker, an Osage and a career pilot, was the highest ranking Indian in the armed forces at the beginning of the war. He died leading a flight of bombers in the Pacific during the Battle of Midway. Joseph J. “Jocko” Clark, the first Indian (Cherokee) to graduate from Annapolis, participated in carrier battles in the Pacific and became an admiral. Brumett Echohawk (Pawnee), a renowned expert in hand-to-hand combat, trained commandos.

A Tradition as Fighters
The Iroquois Confederacy, having declared war on Germany in 1917, had never made peace and so automatically became party to World War II. The Navajo and other tribes were so eager to go to war that they stood for hours in bad weather to sign their draft cards, while others carried their own rifles so they would be ready for battle when they joined up. Unwilling to wait for their draft numbers, one-fourth of the Mescalero Apaches in New Mexico enlisted. Nearly all the able-bodied Chippewas at the Grand Portage Reservation enlisted. In a story that has been attributed to many other tribes as well, Blackfeet Indians mocked the need for a conscription bill. “Since when,” their members cried, “has it been necessary for Blackfeet to draw lots to fight?”
The annual enlistment for Native Americans jumped from 7,500 in the summer of 1942 to 22,000 at the beginning of 1945. According to the Selective Service in 1942, at least 99 percent of all eligible Indians, healthy males aged 21 to 44, had registered for the draft. War Department of officials maintained that if the entire population had enlisted in the same proportion as Indians, the response would have rendered Selective Service unnecessary. The overwhelming majority of Indians welcomed the opportunity to serve. On Pearl Harbor Day, there were 5,000 Indians in the military. By the end of the war, 24,521 reservation Indians, exclusive of officers, and another 20,000 off-reservation Indians had served. The combined figure of 44,500 was more than ten percent of the Native American population during the war years. This represented one-third of all able-bodied Indian men from 18 to 50 years of age. In some tribes, the percentage of men in the military reached as high as 70 percent. Also, several hundred Indian women served in the WACS, WAVES, and Army Nurse Corps.

The “Chiefs” Go to War
In spite of years of inefficient and often corrupt bureaucratic management of Indian affairs, Native Americans stood ready to fight the “white man’s war.” American Indians overcame past disappointment, resentment, and suspicion to respond to their nation’s need in World War II. It was a grand show of loyalty on the part of Native Americans and many Indian recruits were affectionately called “chiefs.” Native Americans responded to America’s call for soldiers because they understood the need to defend one’s own land, and they understood fundamental concepts of fighting for life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
Even the clannish Pueblo tribe, whose members exhibited a historical suspicion of the white world, contributed 213 men, 10 percent of their population of 2,205, to the armed forces. Wisconsin Chippewas at the Lac Oreilles Reservation contributed 100 men from a population of 1,700. Nearly all the able-bodied Chippewas at the Grand Portage Reservation enlisted. Blackfeet Indians enlisted in droves. Navajo Indians responded by sending 3,600 into military service; 300 lost their lives. Many volunteered from the Fort Peck Sioux-Assinibois Reservation in Montana, the descendants of the Indians that defeated Custer. The Iroquois took it as an insult to be called up under compulsion. They passed their own draft act and sent their young braves into National Guard units.
There were many disappointments as well-intentioned Indians were rejected for the draft. Years of poverty, illiteracy, ill- health, and general bureaucratic neglect had taken its toll. A Chippewa Indian was furious when rejected because he had no teeth. “I don’t want to bite ’em,” he said, “I just want to shoot ’em!” Another Indian, rejected for being too fat to run, said that he had not come to run, but to fight.

The Swastika Shadow Over Native Americans
World War II signaled a major break from the past and offered unparalleled opportunities for Indians to compete in the white man’s world. Because the Choctaw language had befuddled German code-breakers in World War I, the German government feared the likelihood of Indian communications specialists as World War II loomed. During the 1930s, Nazi agents posing as anthropologists and writers on reservations tried to subvert some Indian tribes and learn their language. Pan-Nazi agitators from the German-American Bund tried to persuade Indians not to register for the draft. Third Reich Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels predicted Indians would revolt rather than fight Germany because the Swastika was similar to an Indian mystical bird symbol depicting good luck.
Goebbels went so far as to declare the Sioux to be “Aryans,” but the Indians knew that as a Mongoloid race, they would be enslaved by the Nazis. Fascist attempts to convert Indians to their cause not only met with failure, but it may have encouraged Indians to register for the draft in the large numbers they did. About 20 percent of the Indian population, 80,000 men and women, marched off to fight in the armed forces and at the home front against Adolph Hitler, a man they called, “he who smells his mustache.” Benito Mussolini fared little better, as the Indians called him “Gourd Chin.”
Indians saw the Axis Powers as a threat to their liberty, and the Indian tribes responded patriotically. The Chippewa and Sioux joined the Iroquois in declaring war on the Axis. Indians took extreme measures to get into the war. Illiterate Papago Indians memorized a few English phrases and learned to write their names when called to the induction centers. The Navajo, also rejected in large numbers for not speaking English, were extremely determined to serve. They organized remedial English training on their reservations to qualify for service in the armed forces.
The draft created a structure within which Indians and whites had to operate together for the defense of their country. The draft set Indians on a new course where they would be integrated into military life with their white counterparts . Their lives and their land-based society would never be the same. The Indians’ success in weakening racial barriers in the armed forces during World war II presaged the rise of the Civil Rights movement later.

The Home Front
Well-known American humorist Will Rogers, a Cherokee from Oklahoma, said, “The United States never broke a treaty with a foreign government and never kept one with the Indians.” Nevertheless, the government of the United States found no more loyal citizens than their own “first Americans.” When President Roosevelt mobilized the country and declared war on the Axis Powers, it seemed as if he spoke to each citizen individually. Therefore, according to the Indians’ way of perceiving, all must be allowed to participate. About 40,000 Indian men and women, aged 18 to 50, left reservations for the first time to find jobs in defense industries. This migration led to new vocational skills and increased cultural sophistication and awareness in dealings with non-Indians
The purchase of Treasury Stamps and Bonds by Indian tribes and individuals was considerable. By 1944, war bond sales to Indians had reached $50 million. Indians also made generous donations to the Red Cross and other organizations, giving what they had. All of this from a minority group at the bottom rung of the economic ladder.
Some 2,500 Navajos helped construct the Fort Wingate Ordnance Depot in New Mexico, and Pueblo Indians helped build the Naval Supply Depot in Utah. Because of their hunting, survival, and navigational skills in the harsh regions of the north, Alaskan Indians were involved in territorial defense. The entire football team at the Santa Fe Indian School volunteered for the armed forces after the 1942 homecoming game.
Women took over traditional men’ s duties on the reservation, manning fire lookout stations, and becoming mechanics, lumberjacks, farmers, and delivery personnel. Indian women, although reluctant to leave the reservation, worked as welders in aircraft plants. Many Indian women gave their time as volunteers for American Womens’ Volunteer Service, Red Cross, and Civil Defense. They also tended livestock, grew victory gardens, canned food, and sewed uniforms. A wealthy Kiowa woman in Oklahoma sent a $1,000 check to the Navy Relief signed with her thumb print. Alaskan women trapped animals to earn war bond money. By 1943, the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) estimated that 12,000 young Indian women had left the reservation to work in defense industries. By 1945, an estimated 150,000 Native Americans had directly participated in industrial, agricultural, and military aspects of the American war effort.
The Indian Service sent 1,119 of its 7,000 employees into military service. Of these, 22 died, while 7 won Silver or Bronze Stars. In 1942, the Japanese captured 45 Aleuts on Attu. Only 24 returned from captivity in Japan, where they had worked in clay pits.
The federal government designated some Indian lands and even tribes themselves as essential natural resources, appropriating tribal minerals, lumber, and lands for the war effort. After the war, Native Americans discovered that their service forth war effort had depleted their resources without reward. Indian lands provided essential war materials such as oil, gas, lead, zinc, copper, vanadium, asbestos, gypsum, and coal. The Manhattan Project used Navajo helium in New Mexico to make the atomic bomb. The war effort depleted the Blackfoot’s tribal resources of oil.

Tell it to the Marines
German soldiers during World War I had been befuddled by Indians who transmitted messages over field phones in the Choctaw language. The 32d Infantry Division, Third Ammy, used Indians from Michigan and Wisconsin to work with microphones and to transmit messages in the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1940. During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps recruited Navajo Indians for the same purpose. Navajo marines used their language as a battlefield code that the Japanese never broke. The Navajo Code Talkers became the most celebrated and publicized of the radio units.
Marines were “elite” fighters and welcomed Indians because of their warrior reputation. The Navajo marines ended their ceremonial chants by singing the Marine Corps Hymn in Navajo. Their eloquence came naturally to Indians because theirs is an oral culture. Navajos formed special all-Navajo Marine Corps signal units that encoded messages in their native tongue. Taking advantage of the flexibility and range of the Navajo language, they worked out translations of military and naval terms so that orders and instructions could be transmitted by voice over the radio in a code the Japanese were never able to break. They were used first in late 1942 on Guadalcanal. Special Code Talker units were eventually assigned to each of the Marine Corps’ six Pacific divisions. By war’s end, over 400 Navajo had served as Code Talkers. Untold numbers of Marines owe their lives to the Navajo Code Talkers.

Indians also excelled at basic training. Maj. Lee Gilstrop of Oklahoma, who trained 2 ,000 Native Americans at his post, said, “The Indian is the best damn soldier in the Army.” Their talents included bayonet fighting, marksmanship, scouting, and patrolling. Native Americans took to commando training; after all, their ancestors invented it. One Sioux soldier, Kenneth Scisson of South Dakota, became an American commando unit’s leading German-killer. On a single patrol, Scisson added ten notches to his Garand rifle. Native Americans endured thirst and lack of food better than the average soldier. They had an acute sense of perception and excellent endurance, along with superior physical coordination.
Indians first saw action in the Pacific theater. Over 300 Indians, including a descendant of the famed Apache chief Geronimo, took part in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor. Over 2,000 Indian farmers, workers, and businessmen in Oklahoma and New Mexico trained and fought as part of the 45th Infantry Division for 511 days of combat in Italy and Central Europe. The “Thunderbirds” had the highest proportion of Indian soldiers of any division, but Indians served conspicuously in the 4th and 88th Divisions, the l9thand 180thInfantryRegiments, and the 147thField Artillery Regiment, and in sundry Oklahoma National Guard units.
For Native Americans, World War II signaled a major break from the past. Many Indians inthe military made a decent living for the first time in their lives. By 1944, the average Indian’s annual income was $2,500, up two and one-half times since 1940. Military life provided a steady job, money, status, and a taste of the white man’s world. Indians learned assertiveness they could use in their fight for equal rights after the war.

The Warriors and War Workers Return
The war, therefore, provided new opportunities for American Indians, and these opportunities disrupted old patterns. The wartime economy and military service took thousands of Indians away from the reservations. Many of these Indians settled into the mainstream, adapting permanently to the cities and to a non-Indian way of life. Moreover, thousands returned to the reservation even after they had proved themselves capable of making the adjustment to white America. Those who left traditional cultures did not necessarily reject their heritage. Instead, they forged a new Pan-Indian identity to cope with the differences they perceived between themselves and whites.
World War II became a turning point for both Indians and Caucasians because its impact on each was so great and different. Whites believed that World War II had completed the process of Indian integration into mainstream American society. Large numbers of Indians, on the other hand, saw for the first time the non-Indian world at close range. It both attracted and repelled them. The positive aspects included a higher standard of living, with education, health care, and job opportunities. The negatives were the lessening of tribal influence and the threat of forfeiting the security of the reservation. Indians did not want equality with whites at the price of losing group identification. In sum, the war caused the greatest change in Indian life since the beginning of the reservation era and taught Native Americans they could aspire to walk successfully in two worlds.
A good deal of credit must go to the Native Americans for their outstanding part in America’s victory in World War II. They sacrificed more than most-both individually and as a group. They left the land they knew to travel to strange places, where people did not always understand their ways. They had to fore go the dances and rituals that were an important part of their life. They had to learn to work under non-Indian supervisors in situations that were wholly new to them. It was a tremendously difficult adjustment; more than for white America, which had known modem war and mobilization before. But in the process, Native Americans became Indian-Americans, not just American Indians.

Lt. Col. Thomas D. Morgan, USA (Ret.), is a military operations analyst at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with a leading defense contractor. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he was commissioned in the Field Artillery, and served on active duty at various assignments in the United States, Germany, Viet Nam, Panama, and Belgium. He holds an M.P A. degree from the University of Missouri and an M A. degree in History from Pacific Lutheran University.


  • 1918 – Iroquois Indians declare war on Germany. Since they were not included in the 1919 Peace Treaty, they simply renewed their Declaration of War in 1941 and included Italy and Japan.
  • 1919 – Indian soldiers and sailors receive citizenship.
  • 1924 -The Snyder Act grants full citizenship to all American Indians.
  • 1938 -Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) estimates number of potential registrants for a draft in case of war.
  • 1939 – BIA updates male Indian age groups.
  • Jun 1940-The Navajo tribe announces that any un-American activity among its people will be dealt with severely.
  • Aug 1940- BIA Commissioner John Collier meets with Selective Service representatives to determine how to register Indians.
  • Sept. 1940- Congress passes Selective Service Act.
  • Oct 1940 – Congress passes Nationalities Act granting citizenship to all Native Americans without impairing tribal authority.
    • – For the first time, American Indians register for the draft.
  • Jan 1941- The Fourth Signal Company recruits thirty Oklahoma Comanche Indians to be part of a special Signal Corps Detachment.
  • Oct 1940- The armed forces have inducted 1,785 Native Americans.
  • Dec 1941- There are 5,000 Native Americans in the armed forces when Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor.
  • Jan 1942 – According to Selective Service of ficals, 99 percent of all eligible Native Americans had registered for the draft. This ration set the national standard for the nation.
  • Jan 1942 – The Navajo Tribal Council calls a special convention to dramatize their support for the war effort; 50,000 attend.
  • Jul 1 942 – The Six Nations (Mohawks, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, 1942 and Iroquois) declare war on the Axis Powers.
  • 1942-1943- The Amy Air Corps runs a literacy program in Atlantic City, N.J., for native Americans who could not meet military literacy standards.
  • Apr 1943- Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes announces that Indians have bought $12.6 million in war bonds.
  • 1944 – Over 46,000 Indian men and women have left their reservations for defense-related jobs.
  • Nov 1944- Fifty tribes establish the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Denver, Colorado.
  • Jan 1945- John Collier resigns as Indian Commissioner after years of political controversy.
  • 1946- The Truman Commission Civil Right surges more humanitarian consideration for Native Americans.
    • -Indian Claims Commission Act created by Congress to adjudicate Indian land claims in the aftermath of WWII.
  • 1947 – Army Indian Scouts discontinued as a separate element of the U.S. armed forces.
    • They had last been used on border patrol duties.
  • 1957 – Utah becomes the last state to permit Indians to vote.

Sources Billard, Jules B ., ed. The World of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1974).Bernstein, Alison Ricky. “Walking in Two Worlds: American Indians and World War Two,” Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1986.Debo, Angie. A History of the Indians of the United States (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970).Dennis, Henry C., ed. The American Indian, 1492-1970 (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, Inc., 1971).Franco, Jere. “Native Americans in World War II,” Ph.D. diss., University of Arizona, 1990.—————. “Loyal and Heroic Service: The Navajo and World War II.” The Journal of Arizona History 27(1986):391406.—————. “Bringing Them Back Alive: Selective Service and Native Americans.” The Journal of Ethnic Studies 18 (1990):1-27.Holm, Tom. “Fighting a White Man’s War: The Extent and Legacy of American Indian Participation in World War II.” The Journal of Ethnic Studies 9(2) (1981):69-81.La Farge, Oliver. The American Indian (N.Y.: Golden Press, 1956).—————-. ‘They Were Good Enough for the Army.” Harper’s (November 1947): 22-27.McCoy, Ron. “Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.” American West 18(6) (1981): 67-73,75.Murray, Paul T. “Who is an Indian? Who is a Negro?” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 95(2) (April 1987): 215-31.Nelson, Guy. Thunderbird: A History of the 45th Infantry Division (Oklahoma City, OK: 45th Infantry Division Association, 1970).The following was posted @: http://www.medalofhonor.com/NativeWarriors.htmNative WarriorsThe American Indian’s role with the military began in January 1790 and lasted until January of 1891. Their role was as an enemy of the United States. They fought fourteen campaigns against the United States Military during the 101-year-old war called the Indian Wars . The Miami Campaign was the first; the Pine Ridge Campaign was the last. The second longest campaign in US military history was the Comanche Campaign that lasted from 1867 to 1875.After the conclusion of the Comanche Campaign, the Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches (once known as Kiowa-Apaches), role with the military began in 1875 as Scouts, a detachment of Indian Scouts was maintained at Fort Sill. These scouts were used to carry messages from the post to detachments of troops at other outposts, they also helped to guard the paymaster, searched for outlaws and deserters and the like. In 1892 the United States War Department formed several Indian troops of Calvary, including one at Fort Sill. It was called Troop L, Seventh Cavalry. These scouts consisted of mostly Kiowas, however, the Comanches and Apaches also had tribal members enlisted with Troop L. In 1897 the War Department disbanded all the Indian troops. It was said that the Indians made good soldiers, within their limitations. Their average in marksmanship was high, their discipline good, and they were proud of the uniform.The Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches role with the military, in the 1900’s, started with them being drafted and volunteering into the Armed Forces of the United States during WWI despite not being citizens of the United States until passage of the Citizenship Act of 1924 . Since and after WWI they have fought in all military actions that the United States was involved with.On June 14, 1944 the first Comanche Killed In Action wile serving in the Armed Forces of the United States was SGT Melvin “Hawkeye” Myers, of Apache. The first known Kiowa killed in action was CPL Lyndreth Leon Palmer, from the Redstone area, on December 5, 1944. The first Apache killed in Action was CPL Austin Lewis Klinelole. He was killed during the Korean War on September 18, 1951, he was also from Apache. There have been eighteen men of Kiowa, Comanche and Apache descent who have been killed in action, died of wounds or have been declared dead as a result of hostile action against the United States while serving in the Armed Forces.In memory of and to honor these eighteen men this tribute is so written. Fourteen of these heroes are buried in the United States. Two are buried overseas and two of the bodies were never recovered. It didn’t matter that their skin was a different color or that their ways weren’t like others or that they wouldn’t look you in the eye or that their handshake was gentle, what mattered was these magnificent warriors fought side by side with other Americans until they could fight no more….President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the following, “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live, and grow, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives – in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”

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Post Relating to Native Americans in Korean War:

Source of Post below: http://korea50.army.mil/history/factsheets/native.shtml

3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif Native Americans in the Korean War:

Nighthorse Campbell

Photo Caption: Nighthorse Campbell

Ben Nighthorse Campbell 3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif

One young recruit who joined the military during the Korean conflict was Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a Northern Cheyenne, who, in 1987, became the first American Indian to serve in Congress since 1929 (in more than 60 years). The 18-year-old Campbell joined the Air Force in 1951. He was transferred to an Air Force police unit and shipped to Korea. Campbell never saw combat first-hand, but he vividly remembers the horrors he saw there, especially the suffering of Korean children. But Campbell also recalls the benefits of service in the military, writing, “There was a camaraderie [in the Air Force] that transcends ethnicity when you serve your country overseas in wartime.”

Campbell was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in November 1982 and from there went to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1987 through 1992. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992.

NOTE: A leader in policy dealing with public lands and natural resources, Campbell is recognized for the passage of landmark legislation to settle Indian water rights. He fought and won to have the Custer Battlefield Monument changed to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and he initiated and passed legislation to establish the National Museum of the American Indian within the Smithsonian Institution. He’s also an all-American Judo champion and jewelry designer.

Native American Medal of Honor Recipients from the Korean War 3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif

The warrior tradition of overpowering the enemy and facing death head-on accurately describes the heroic actions of the three Native Americans awarded the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. These two soldiers and one officer faced the enemy bravely and through their heroism saved the lives of their fellow servicemen.

Red Cloud

Photo Caption: Red Cloud

Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. 3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif

“The son of a Winnebago chief and warriors who believe that when a man goes into battle, he expects to kill or be killed and if he dies he will live forever.” These are the words inscribed on the monument erected in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and dedicated to the memory of Korean War hero Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., the first Winnebago to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Corporal Red Cloud, a member of Company E, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery during an attack by communist forces near Chonghyon, South Korea, on Nov. 5, 1950. According to an eyewitness account, Company E was alerted to the surprise enemy attack by a shouted warning from Corporal Red Cloud, who was on a ridge guarding his company’s command post. He immediately opened fire with his automatic rifle on the advancing enemy troops. Despite being severely wounded, Red Cloud held his ground, using a tree to give himself the support needed to continue firing. He refused help and continued to fire until he was fatally wounded. His valiant actions checked the enemy assault and allowed his company to consolidate its position and evacuate the wounded.

Corporal Red Cloud received the Medal of Honor posthumously on July 2, 1951; the medal was presented to his mother, Nellie Red Cloud, by U.S. Army General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Private First Class Charles George 3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif

Private First Class Charles George, a Cherokee from North Carolina, followed the ancient warrior tradition, when, on Nov. 30, 1952, he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. During the night of Nov. 30, George, a member of Company C, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, was with a raiding party operating near Songnae-dong, South Korea. The raiding party was charged with engaging the enemy and capturing a prisoner for interrogation. As they charged up a hill toward the enemy, the group faced intense mortar and machine-gun fire and suffered several casualties.

Throughout the charge, Private George fought valiantly, and once the crest of the hill had been reached, he jumped into the trench where the enemy soldiers were concealed and engaged them in hand-to-hand combat. When the troops were ordered to withdraw, George and two companions remained behind to cover the withdrawal. As they were leaving the trenches, an enemy soldier threw a grenade toward the Americans. Private George immediately threw himself upon the grenade, absorbing the full blast, thus saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. Although severely wounded, he kept silent so as not to reveal the position of the men with him. His companions evacuated him, but he died shortly thereafter.


Photo Caption: Harvey

Captain Raymond Harvey 3dflagsdotcom_usa_2faws.gif

Captain Raymond Harvey, a Chickasaw, was commanding officer of Company C, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for an action on March 9, 1951, near Taerni-dong, South Korea. When Harvey’s company was pinned down by automatic weapons fire from several well-entrenched emplacements, he braved bullets and grenades to advance to the first North Korean machine gun nest and killed its crew with grenades. Rushing to the edge of the next emplacement, he killed its crew with carbine fire. Captain Harvey then moved the 1st Platoon forward, but it was again stopped by automatic weapons. Disregarding the hail of fire, he charged and destroyed a third emplacement. Miraculously, Harvey continued to lead the assault through the intense crossfire. After spotting a well-camouflaged enemy pillbox, he moved close enough to sweep the emplacement with carbine fire and throw grenades through the openings, killing its five occupants.

Though wounded and in pain, he ordered his company forward and continued to direct the attack on the remaining hostile positions. Harvey refused evacuation until assured that the mission would be accomplished.


Autry, Otwa T. Brigadier General, Retired. The 189th Field Artillery, 1920–1988 (1988).

Bureau of Indian Affairs. Indian Record (1970).

Field, James A., Jr. History of United States Naval Operations Korea (1962).

45th Infantry Division Association. 45th Division News (1988).

Jordan, Kenneth N., Sr. Forgotten Heroes (1995).

Henry, Christopher. Ben Nighthorse Campbell: Cheyenne Chief and U.S. Senator (1994).

“Memories of Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.,” Ho-Chunk Wo-Lduk, July 1994, p. 3.

“Museum Remembers Ho-Chunk Warriors,” Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, November 1, 1997, pp. 1–2.

U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (1973).

United States 93d Congress. 1st Session. Senate. Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Medal of Honor Recipients, 1863–1973 (1973).

United States. Department of Defense. Fact Sheet: Native Americans (n.d).

United States, Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center. “Frequently Asked Questions: American Indian Medal of Honor Winners” (n.d.).

United States, Department of the Navy, Navy Historical Center. “Frequently Asked Questions: 20th Century Warriors: Native American Participation in the United States Military” (n.d.).

END OF POST (More Links to Related Articles below)


Additional Links Relating to Native Americans in Foreign Wars and Other Related Links

Congressional Medal of Honor – Fallen Warriors Remembered, Native

In a citation to the families of the men who died during World War II, …. helped turn the tide of the war and saved untold numbers of American lives. http://www.medalofhonor.com/NativeWarriors.htm


National Conference of Christians & Jews; Money and Dignity, a Choice
It is even more shocking when we remember that Native Americans fought and died in World War II to protect Jews from being exterminated by Nazi hatred.


Congressional Medal of Honor – Fallen Warriors Remembered, Native
Over 58000 Americans died in Vietnam. The Grenada Campaign was in 1983. The Panama Campaign from 1989 to 1990. The Persian Gulf War started 1990 and was


“The People’s Paths home page!” American & Canadian Indian Military
Native American Vietnam Veterans War Stories “Dedicated to the memory of those who served in the Vietnam War, and all who died there.”


Canku Ota – March 11, 2000-Kevin Shores
He is proud to be a Veteran…he, like many Native Americans served willingly, I n 1997, I was introduced to the American Gulf War Veterans Association,


More Americans killed by illegal aliens than Iraq war, study says
Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, The place was then inhabited by native Americans belonging to the Powhatan tribe.


The Raw Story | Modern native Americans fight for military that

The study showed that 12000 Native Americans fought overseas in World War I, to be killed in Iraq was Hopi Indian Lori Piestewa, who died of injuries


Honor the fallen: Army Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa
She is believed to be the first Native American woman killed in combat in a known killed in the Iraq war and possibly the nation’s first Native American http://www.militarycity.com/valor/256538.html


Native American Indian Heritage Month


Native Americans in the Korean War. American Indians have served with …. to the first North Korean machine gun nest and killed its crew with grenades.


Native American Medal of Honor Recipients from the Korean War to advance to the first North Korean machine gun nest and killed its crew with grenades.




Piestewa honored two years after death in Iraq

Indianz.Com. In Print.
URL: http://www.indianz.com/News/2005/007215.asp
Piestewa honored two years after death in Iraq
Thursday, March 24, 2005Lori Piestewa, the Hopi woman killed in action in Iraq,
was remembered at a memorial in Phoenix
attended by her best friend and former roommate Jessica Lynch
and Piestewa’s family.Lynch said she and Piestewa became fast friends despite different upbringings.
“We were so close that we felt like we were family,” Lynch was quoted as saying.Lynch is making her first visit to Arizona two years after her unit came
under fire in Iraq. The attack resulted in Piestewa’s death on March 23, 2003.Lynch will visit the Hopi and Navajo reservations.Get the Story:
Remembering Lori Piestewa: A soldier, a sister, a friend (The Arizona Republic 3/24)
Lynch honors fallen comrade (AP 3/24)

Related Stories:
Lynch says she thinks of Piestewa ‘all the time’ (3/23)
Piestewa’s parents welcome Lynch to Arizona (3/22)
Phoenix ceremony to honor Piestewa, Native vets (3/21)
Lynch, friend of Piestewa, to visit three reservations (3/15)
Lori Piestewa honored in New Mexico ceremony (11/05)
Piestewa family, Lynch guests at Crow Native Days (6/22)
Memorial honors Piestewa year after death in Iraq (03/24)
Column: ‘Squaw’ a racial slur against Native people (01/16)
Column: Republicans want to restore ‘Squaw Peak’ (01/14)
Debate rages over renaming of park at Piestewa Peak (01/09)
Piestewa family attends NCAI honoring ceremony (11/18)
Piestewa friend calls Hopi woman the real hero (11/12)
Piestewa family watched movie on Jessica Lynch (11/11)
Piestewa friend ‘hurt’ by military accounts (11/07)
Pvt. Lynch: ‘Most of all, I miss Lori Piestewa’ (07/23)
Army report describes attack on Piestewa’s unit (07/10)
Army to release report on Piestewa ambush in Iraq (7/9)
Ariz. board votes in favor of Piestewa Peak again (07/03)
Piestewa family honored at Bighorn ceremony (6/26)
Piestewa family honored guests for Crow Days (6/20)
Lori Piestewa: ‘Hell yeah, I’ve taken fire!’ (6/19)
Report: Piestewa died at Iraqi hospital (6/18)
Piestewa family honored on Memorial Day (5/27)
Military official says Piestewa fought with courage (05/27)
Military completes report on Piestewa death (5/23)
Piestewa to be featured in veterans exhibit (5/21)
Ariz. senate panel OKs Piestewa ‘pressure’ bill (05/14)
U.S. board won’t act on Piestewa Peak until 2008 (5/9)
First Lady meets Piestewa family on Navajo visit (5/9)
So how do you really pronounce Piestewa? (5/9)
Ariz. lawmakers respond to Piestewa Peak flap (5/8)
First Lady Laura Bush to visit Navajo Nation (5/7)
Tribal jail inmates reach out to Piestewa family (5/5)
Opinion: Show respect for Piestewa Peak (5/5)
Squaw Peak highway changed in honor of Piestewa (5/2)
Ariz. GOP still steamed over name change (5/2)
Renzi: Piestewa fought to save lives of others (5/1)
Ariz. board to vote on Squaw Peak Freeway (4/30)
Hopi Tribe holds ceremony in honor of Piestewa (4/28)
AICF creates scholarship fund in Piestewa’s honor (4/28)
Oneida Nation students raise money for Piestewa (4/28)
Column: Squaw Peak changed with little debate (4/28)
Piestewa remembered in Ariz. candlelight ceremony (4/25)
Navajo Nation council honors Lori Piestewa (4/25)
Editorial: Renaming Squaw Peak was right move (4/25)
Renzi also says Piestewa fought ‘to the death’ (4/24)
Concert to benefit Lori Piestewa’s children (4/24)
Column: Lori died because she had no options (4/24)
Column: Piestewa fought Iraqi attackers (4/23)
Editorial: Don’t throw rocks over Piestewa Peak (4/23)
Squaw Peak name change being contested (4/23)
Ariz. governor faces fallout for Piestewa Peak (4/22)
Jodi Rave: Don’t call Indian women ‘squaw’ (4/22)
Readers still want to talk about Squaw Peak (4/22)
Ariz. paper profiles Lori Piestewa’s short life (4/21)
Column: We wouldn’t rename peak for White man (4/21)
Readers praise, critique Squaw Peak name change (4/21)
Say goodbye to Squaw Peak in Ariz. (4/18)
Benson’s View: Piestewa Peak vs. Pipsqueak (4/18)
Ariz. panel votes to change ‘squaw’ names (4/18)
Republic Editorial: ‘They did the right thing’ (4/18)
Column: Lori Piestewa was not a warrior (4/18)
Column: Piestewa’s name deserves much more (4/18)
Piestewa Peak views continue to roll in (4/18)
Some Ariz. GOP unhappy with Piestewa plans (4/17)
Editorial: Don’t wait five years to change name (4/17)
Pequot tribe donates scholarship to family (4/17)
Column: What’s Better – Squaw Peak or Piestewa Peak? (4/17)
More support and opposition for Piestewa Peak (4/17)
Hopi Tribe to honor Piestewa in official ceremony (4/16)
Thousands remember Piestewa in memorial service (4/14)
Editorial: Stop making excuses for Squaw Peak (4/14)
Navajo lawmakers cite poor timing for name change (4/14)
More reaction to renaming peak for Piestewa (4/14)
Piestewa service to take place in Tuba City (4/11)
Piestewa, the Lady Warrior, honored at pow-wow (4/11)
More opinions on renaming peak for Piestewa (4/11)
Reaction: ‘One of the Fallen Heroes’ (4/10)
Piestewa story extends beyond Indian Country (4/10)
Don’t expect Piestewa Peak any time soon (4/10)
Column: Name change is more than just symbolism (4/10)
Footnotes to a war: What about Private Lori? (4/10)
How to Donate to Lori Piestewa Memorial Fund (4/9)
Editorial: Rename Ariz. peak in honor of Piestewa (4/8)
Column: Would anyone call Piestewa a ‘squaw’? (4/8)
Piestewa death investigated as war crime (4/8)
Memorial set for fallen soldiers from Ft. Bliss (4/8)
Snow in Hopiland heralds return of Piestewa (4/7)
DoD confirms Piestewa killed in action in Iraq (4/7)
Indian Country mourns loss of Native soldier (4/7)
Hopi Woman Confirmed Dead (4/5)
Readers react to Piestewa tragedy (4/5)
Letters of Support Lori Piestewa and Family(4/4)
Piestewa: ‘When is his mom coming home?’ (4/4)
Rescued soldier has no information on Piestewa (4/4)
Military begins difficult identification process (4/4)
Rescued soldier watched unit members die (4/3)
Fellow Piestewa unit member rescued in Iraq (4/2)
Vigil held in Ariz. for missing Hopi soldier (3/27)
Hopi Tribe prays for return of missing soldier (3/26)
Piestewa Family Letter: Thank you for prayers (3/26)
Ariz. soldier reported missing (3/25)


In American Holocaust, Standard estimates the total cost of the near-extermination of the American Indians as 100,000,000 (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm#Total)

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Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 4:30 am  Comments (1)