December 27, 2006

Celebrating codetalkers

Code Talker holiday createdThe Navajo Nation Council voted 56-0 Friday to establish Aug. 14 as Navajo Nation Code Talkers Day and a Navajo Nation holiday.

Delegate Larry Anderson of Fort Defiance, sponsor of the legislation, told council, "In all the war histories of the United States, no other language other than English was used, except in World War II, when the United States for the first time in its military history used the Navajo people, and used Navajo words to win the war."

9 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
One would believe that when codetalkers are discussed, the item also would mention Native tribes other than just the Navajo. For example, Comanche codetalkers became instrumental during the D-Day invasion and thereafter. And if one wanted a more or less complete listing of the Native tribes also involved in codetalking projects during WWII, that would include...
Navajo
Hopi
Comanche
Choctaw
Chippewa/Oneida
Menominee
Sauk and Fox
Crow
Missisaugua
and Cree
And long before the film WINDTALKERS was the 1952 movie THUNDERBIRDS, which chronicled the war experiences of the 45th Division of the Oklahoma National Guard, starring John Derek, John Drew Barrymore, and Ward Bond. Since the unit principally was composed of Native Americans, the film presented the value of the Native codetalkers in many sequences. writerfella especially recalls the consternation of German soldiers who tapped into phone lines and heard Comanche instead of English. Sadly, all of the codetalkers surviving to today are just the Navajo and perhaps that is why the rest rarely are remembered or discussed.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I know there were other codetalkers. See

http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues00/Co06032000/CO_06032000_Codetalk.htm

for a typical posting on the Choctaw and Comanche codetalkers.

If the non-Navajo codetalkers ever come up in a pop-cultural context, such as getting their own holiday, I'll mention them.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Fortunately for writerfella, he was in Oklahoma City in late 1989 when Oklahoma codetalkers were honored at the State Capitol and given 'their own day' by gubernatorial decree. The item was given wide exposure on Oklahoma TV media but warranted not a whisper of a mention in the national media. If media truly are the arbiters of Native representation as has been stated many times on this website, wha' hoppen?
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Anonymous said...

Several years ago at a powwow in northern Idaho I had the honor of meeting the last 2 remaining Navajo code talkers. I had my picture taken with them and I was positively gushing with enthusiasm at meeting them. I'm sure I embarrassed myself and they couldn't have been more polite and kind to me. It truly was an honor.

Rob said...

The media tends to promote stereotypes about Natives, not accurate representations. A codetalker doesn't fit the standard storyline of Indians as savages, drunks, or lazy bums. If Oklahoma's governor had denounced greedy casino Indians, I bet the national media would've covered it.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Impossible, for in 1989, there were no casinos in Oklahoma, only tribal bingo operations that, at the time, were forbidden to serve alcoholic beverages. writerfella always has wondered just how and/or why that Federal proviso was changed when those operations mutated/devolved into casinos. When they stopped playing bingo, writerfella found other uses for his time and money...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

ca·si·no –noun, plural -nos

1. a building or large room used for meetings, entertainment, dancing, etc., esp. such a place equipped with gambling devices, gambling tables, etc.

One, a bingo hall is arguably a form of casino. Two, if there weren't any casino Indians in Oklahoma in 1989 and the governor denounced them anyway, it would've been more likely to gain national attention, not less. Three, my comment was another analogy, not something to take literally.

You can learn more about Indian gaming and its history in The Facts About Indian Gaming.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Let's see what Rob has said -- mascots and stereotypes and biases are not analogies and thus instead are to be taken literally.
Analogy: similarity or partial resemblance in some respects to something else; comparison of something point by point with something else; in logic, inference that certain resemblances imply probably but unseen further similarities.
Literality: following the EXACT words of the original (emphasis writerfella's); based upon the exact words in their ordinary meaning; real; not going beyond the actual facts; virtual.
Using those definitions of Rob's two words, then mascots and stereotypes are not analogies and do not just resemble the originals, they literally ARE the originals. And if people attack mascots and stereotypes, they are not attacking symbols or fanciful representations, they are attacking real beings and real concepts embodied in flesh and blood.
And everyone is saying that Mel Gibson is mad!
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I don't know what you're referring to with this quote, Russ:

"Let's see what Rob has said -- mascots and stereotypes and biases are not analogies and thus instead are to be taken literally."

The only thing I said about stereotypes in this thread is:

"The media tends to promote stereotypes about Natives, not accurate representations."

That is, I contrasted stereotypes with accurate representations, saying they were different. This is the opposite of saying stereotypes "are not analogies and thus instead are to be taken literally."

If you're referring to this statement of mine:

"Three, my comment was another analogy, not something to take literally."

that was a reference to

"If Oklahoma's governor had denounced greedy casino Indians, I bet the national media would've covered it."

That sentence was indeed an analogy of sorts and not a literal statement. More to the point, it was a specific hypothetical about the governor's actions, not a general claim about stereotypes or biases. It had nothing to do with our previous disagreements.

In short, your last posting is based on an erroneous reading of my previous posting. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.