Resources

In 2006, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) co-produced a traveling exhibition titled Native Words, Native Warriors. Copies of the exhibition are currently traveling to various locations. To view the exhibition tour itineraries, go to the following websites:

NMAI schedule: http://nmai.si.edu/subpage.cfm?subpage=collaboration&second=exhibitions
SITES schedule: http://www.sites.si.edu/exhibitions/exhibits/codetalkers/main.htm

Books for Further Reading

The following titles will provide an overview of American Indian Code Talkers, Native participation in the U.S. military, and the life experienced by many Native soldiers in federally sponsored Indian boarding schools. This list also includes books on codes and ciphers. Many of these titles should be available at your local library.

BOOKS FOR ADULTS

American Indians in World War I

Britten, Thomas A. American Indians in World War I: At War and At Home. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.

American Indians in World War II

Bernstein, Alison R. American Indians and World War II: Toward a New Era in Indian Affairs. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

Franco, Jere Bishop. Crossing the Pond: The Native American Effort in World War II. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 1999.

Townsend, Kenneth William. World War II and the American Indian. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2000.

American Indian Code Talkers

Daily, Robert. The Code Talkers: American Indians in World War II. New York: Franklin Watts, 1995.

Navajo Code Talkers

Aaseng, Nathan. Navajo Code Talkers. New York: Walker & Company, 1992.

Bixler, Margaret T. Winds of Freedom: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. Darien, CT: Two Bytes Pub. Co., 1992.

Durrett, Deanne. Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers. New York: Facts on File, 1998.

Jones, Catherine. Navajo Code Talkers: Native American Heroes. Greensboro, NC: Tudor Publishers, 1997.

Kawano, Kenji. Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Pub. Co., 1990.

McClain, Sally. Navajo Weapon. Tucson, AZ: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2002.

Paul, Doris Atkinson. The Navajo Code Talkers. Philadelphia, PA: Dorance, 1973.

Comanche Code Talkers

Meadows, William C. The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Codes and Ciphers

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Evolution of Secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots to Quantum Cryptography. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Smith, Laurence D. Cryptography: The Science of Secret Writing. Dover, DE: Dover Publications, 1955.

Indian Boarding Schools

Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1997.

Archuleta, Margaret; Child, Brenda J.; Lomawaima, K. Tsianina, eds. Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences. Phoenix, AZ: Heard Museum, 2000.

BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

American Indian Code Talkers

Hunter, Sara Hoagland. The Unbreakable Code. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Publishing, 1996. [ages 4-8]

Bruchac, Joseph. Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War II. New York: Dial Books, 2005. [ages 12 and up]

Codes and Ciphers

Adams, Simon. Codebreakers: Secret Worlds. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2002. [ages 9-12]

Huckle, Helen. The Secret Code Book. New York: Dial Books, 1995. [ages 9-12]

Janeczko, Paul. Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2004. [ages 9-12]

Price-Hossell, Karen. Ciphers and Codes. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003. [ages 4-8]

Singh, Simon. The Code Book: How to Make it, Break it, Hack it, Crack it. New York: Bantam Doubleday, 2002. [Young adult]

Indian Boarding Schools

Archuleta, Margaret L., Child, Brenda J., and Lomawaima, K. Tsianina, eds. Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000. Phoenix, AZ: The Heard Museum.

Littlefield, Holly. Children of the Indian Boarding Schools. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publishing Group, 2001.

Films

American Indian Code Talkers have been featured in a number of documentary film presentations.

True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers. 58 minutes. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Media LLC, 2002. VHS and DVD.
Description: Documentary about the Navajo code talkers, including interviews and Navajo music.
Availability: only online from www.berkeleymedia.com

In Search of History: The Navajo Code Talkers. 50 minutes. Lincoln, NE: History Channel and Native American Public Broadcasting Consortium, 2006. VHS.
Description: History Channel documentary on the Navajo code talkers. Includes explanation and history of code and interviews with talkers.
Availability: History Channel.com

Navajo Code Talkers: The Epic Story. 55 minutes. Tully Entertainment, 1994. VHS.
Description: Documentary of the Navajo code talkers and Navajo history during World War II.
Availability: Amazon.com

Navajo Code Talkers. 30 minutes. Santa Fe, NM: Native American Public Broadcasting, 1996. VHS.
Description: Old film footage and interviews tell the story of the Navajo code talkers.
Availability: only online at www.visionmaker.org

The Last Comanche Code Talker: Recollections of Charles Chibitty. 42 minutes. Momford, OK: Hidden Path Productions, 2000. VHS.
Availability: Call the Museum of the Great Plains, in Lawton, OK, 580/581-3460, to order.

War Code: Navajo. 18 minutes. National Geographic and Lena Carr, 1995. VHS.
Description: Short film about Navajo code talkers including interviews
Availability: For more information see http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/Eng/orange/war_code.htm.

Resources Online

Code Talkers

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Teaching with Documents: Memorandum Regarding the Enlistment of Navajo Indians
http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/code-talkers/
This site gives more detail on the U.S. Marine Corps Navajo Code Talker program, highlighting Maj. Gen. Clayton B. Vogel’s March 26, 1942, memo recommending the recruitment of Navajo men for the project.

Codes and Ciphers

National Security Agency / Central Security Service
America’s CryptoKids
www.nsa.gov/kids/home_html.cfm
This entire website is devoted to codes and ciphers, how to make them, their history, and characters to play games with using the information—plus links for students and parents.

Thunk.com
Secret Messages for Kids Only!
www.thunk.com
This site has an encoder and decoder that scrambles words. It also includes fun extras about how secret codes developed and are really used as well as suggested books to read and other websites to explore.

South African Scout Association
Codes for Cubs and Scouts
www.scouting.org.za/codes/
This site is full of different codes. It explains how to make and break them and gives examples.

The Youth Online Club
The Youth Online Club – Spy Codes
www.youthonline.ca/spykids/
This is another website of codes that includes examples and explanations of 12 different types of codes as well as a code generator and sample activities.

American Indian Languages

There are many websites now devoted to American Indian languages. The links below provide a sampling of sites related to Code Talking languages. The sites vary in their offerings. Some sites include audio samples and lesson plans, while others are more general. Exploration is encouraged.

Comanche Language and Cultural preservation Committee: http://www.comanchelanguage.org

Cherokee Language programs: http://www.cherokee.org/home.aspx?section=culture&culture=language

Choctaw Language program: http://www.choctaw.org/culture/choctaw_language.htm

Information about Hopi language and culture: http://www.hopi.nsn.us

Information about Navajo language: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kchief/Language.html

Information about Navajo history: http://www.navajo.org/history.htm

Bibliography (sources used in the development of this website)

Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1997.

American Indian Code Talkers. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of the American Indian, 2004. Taped interviews.

Archuleta, Margaret, Brenda J. Child, and K. Tsianina Lomawaima, eds. Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences. Phoenix, AZ: Heard Museum, 2000.

Bierhorst, John, ed. Four Masterworks of American Indian Literature. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1974.

Charles Joyce Chibitty: 1921-2005. YL-37 Flies Again. YL-37 Group Foundation Inc. http://marine73110.tripod.com/id20.html

Deloria, Jr., Vine and Clifford M. Lytle. American Indians, American Justice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1983.

Kawano, Kenji. Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Pub. Co., 1990.

Meadows, William C. The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2002.

Meadows, William C. North American Indian Code Talkers: Current Developments and Research. Unpublished article.

McLain, Sally . The Navajo Weapon: The Navajo Code Talkers. Tucson, AZ: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 1981.

McMaster, Gerald and Clifford E. Trafzer, eds. Native Universe: Voices of Indian America. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution in association with National Geographic, 2004.

Norell, Brenda. Circle of Light: Remembering Carl Gorman. http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1088692765

Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes: The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. Gallup, NM: Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, 2004.

Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, Volumes 1 and 2. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

Williams, Rudi. DoD Honors Last Comanche World War II “Code Talker.” American Forces Press Service, 1999. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec1999/n12031999_9912032.html

Williams, Rudi. Last WWII Comanche Code Talker Visits Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery. American Forces Press Service, 2002. http://www.pentagon.gov/specials/nativeam02/cemetery.html

Williams, Rudi. Last World War II Comanche Code Talker Laid to Rest. American Forces Press Service, July 2005. http://www.militaryconnections.com/news_story.cfm?textnewsid=1608

Witmer, Linda F. The Indian Industrial School: Carlisle Pennsylvania, 1879-1918. Carlisle, PA: Cumberland County Historical Society, 2002.

Use of the Term Code Talker

The U.S. Marine Corps appears to have originated the term “code talker.” During World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps Manual of Military Occupational Specialties defined “code talker” as “one who transmits and receives messages in a restricted language by radio and wire. Sends and receives messages by means of semaphores and other visual signal devices. May perform field linemen, switchboard operator, or other communications duties.”

As early as 1919, newspapers had referenced Indians’ work using their language during military service. Reports at the end of World War I identified Sioux and Choctaw Indians by tribe and described what they had done (used their languages as “code” over the radio).

Early in World War II (as early as Dec. 1940 —a full year before the attack on Pearl Harbor), there were more reports of Indians being trained to use their languages over the radio. In February 1941, four articles appeared in at least three different newspapers about Indians being trained for communications work. In 1943, one New York Times article referenced “Indian communications men” on Guadalcanal. On September 18, 1945, two weeks after the surrender of Japan, an article appeared in the Washington Post calling Navajo men who used their language in the Marine Corps “Navajo Talkers.” The following day the New York Times ran a different article that called these men “code talkers.”

Many publications since that time have used the term “code talker” to refer to Indian men who used their Native languages during their service in the U.S. military. William Meadows, author of The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II, uses the term “Type 1” code talker to describe those Native men who used a coded version of their language to relay military messages. “Type 2” code talker refers to soldiers who used their Native languages in a straightforward manner to transmit military messages.