As so often happens in our American history books, the contributions of a group of volunteer Native servicemen called code talkers, has been severely understated. Code talkers were our warriors doing what they have always been inspired to do – protect their homeland, families and culture. Despite having often been harshly treated for speaking in their Native languages, these warriors valiantly served for the United States and by using their beautiful Native languages these hero soldiers became pivotal in helping to win two of the most crucial wars in U.S. history – World Wars I & II.
The buzz this 4th of July is a petition to get a National Native Code Talkers Day on the radar of the U.S. Senate. The campaign was begun by Vietnam Veteran and Navajo Elder, Niles Aserat. Now a resident of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Niles grew up on the Navajo reservation in Sanders, Arizona. Niles joined the Army in 1966 and saw firsthand the brutality of war. He and only one other man in his brigade of 178 men, survived a vicious ambush at the infamous battle of Hamburger Hill.
After reading a book about code talkers, Aserat found himself inspired to spread the word about their amazing contribution and self sacrifice which turned the tides of war in the favor of the U.S. During WWII, military Marine Corp recruiters visited the Navajo reservation and understanding the threat facing their homeland from foreign invaders again, the first group of 29 brave warriors volunteered and developed a sophisticated code which was never deciphered by the enemies.