The Cherokee Code Talkers coin.
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation and 30 other tribes will each accept a Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to honor Native American Code Talkers.
“It’s wonderful that United States Congress is honoring Code Talkers in this way,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Of course, the Cherokee Nation is proud of our contributions to multiple war efforts and our involvement with the Code Talkers, so it’s fitting we commemorate it, especially during Native American Heritage Month.”
Native Americans, and Cherokees in particular, have a longstanding history of serving the military at a higher rate than the general U.S. population. The U.S. military employed Cherokees and other tribal members, such as the Navajo and Choctaw, as Code Talkers to pass messages in their native languages to confuse and bypass enemy forces.
“This is one way to recognize the importance of Native Americans’ service in the defense of the United States,” said Cherokee Nation Veterans Representative Raymond Vann. “Many who served did so at a time when the federal government's policies toward Indian Nations were unfriendly. Yet, so many Indian people served to fight for freedom, and the Code Talkers served in such an extraordinary way using their language to help turn the tide.”
There is no firm number on how many Cherokees were Code Talkers, but the tribe is actively researching that figure.
Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, a Navy Vietnam veteran, is accepting the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the tribe.
Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors, cabinet members and Cherokee Nation employees who worked with the U.S. Mint to help design the Cherokee Code Talkers coin will also attend.
Congress is presenting gold medals designed for each tribe in accordance with the “Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.”
The act, Public Law 110-420, says Native American Code Talkers, first reported in use on Oct. 17, 1918, deserve immediate recognition for their dedication and valor, long overdue.
The Cherokee Nation Code Talker coin includes the image of a Cherokee Code Talker with a Cherokee Syllabary font that translates to “code talkers.” On the reverse side of the coin is the Cherokee Nation seal.
Cherokee Nation News Release
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