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Navajo Code Talkers

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by

Hannah Capen

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Navajo Code Talkers

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Images from Shutterstock.com Navajos Wanted Code Talkers "What happened to the Navajos in the past were social conflicts. But this conflict involved Mother Earth being dominated by foreign countries. It was our responsibility to defend her."
-Albert Smith, President of the Navajo Code Talkers' Association in Gallup, New Mexico

-3,600 Navajos served in WWII
-420 were Code Talkers
-The first group of 29 Navajos was ordered to make a code

-When code was finished, Navy intelligence officers spent 3 weeks trying, and failing, to decipher a single message

-Code Talkers were also used as everyday soldiers, fighting Japanese

-Given own "bodyguards"
-To protect them from marines who couldn't tell a Navajo from a Japanese
-To protect THE CODE -Came up with a Navajo word for each letter of the English alphabet
-Since they had to memorize all the words, they used things that were familiar to them
-such as animals

Examples:

Able Baker Charlie became Wollachee Shush Moasi...Ant Bear Cat

"District" became the Navajo words for "deer ice strict"

The enemy was christened by a characteristic... Hitler became Daghailchiih (Mustache Smeller) How the Code System Works Navajo Code Talkers of WWII Mrs. Capen -Navajo Nation located in Southwest desert of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico

-Most Navajos
-Herded sheep
-Lived in houses called hogans
-Bought what they could not grow or make at nearby trading posts

-In 1864, the Navajos were marched 350 miles across New Mexico
-Navajos call the relocation "The Long Walk"

-President Franklin Roosevelt's Administration was destroying Navajo sheep to reduce soil erosion and overgrazing

-Voting rights for Navajos were restricted until...
-1948 in Arizona
-1953 in New Mexico
-1957 in Utah The Navajo in 1942 The Importance of Code and Communication During WWII Try to translate this message in 30 seconds... Letter Navajo Word English Word
C MOASI Cat
D LHA-CHA-EH Dog
E DZEH Elk
I TKIN Ice
O NE-AHS-JAH Owl
R GAH Rabbit
V A-KEH-DI-GLINI Victor

MOASI, NE-AHS-JAH, LHA-CHA-EH, DZEH
GAH, DZEH, MOASI, DZEH, TKIN, A-KEH-DI-GLINI, DZEH, LHA-CHA-EH -Code machines were the pride of WWII
-Used state-of-the-art devises called "Enigma," "Purple," and "The Bomb" to shroud secret messages

-U.S. Marines used Dineh or "The People" (Navajo) to shroud secret messages

-Navajo code is one of the few unbroken codes in military history

-Navajo was primarily an oral language
-There were no code books or cryptic algorithms

-Navajo is a tonal language
-It's vowels rise and fall, changing meaning with pitch
-A single Navajo verb can translate into an entire English sentence! -During WWI, Indians in the American and Canadian armies sent messages in their native languages
-Lacked words like "machine gun" and "grenade"
-Their use was limited

-When WWII began, Philip Johnston got an idea
-Philip Johnston
-son of missionaries
-civil engineer
-grew up on the Navajo reservation
-fluent Navajo speaker

-Early in 1942, Johnston proposed an up-to-date code
-In April of 1942, recruiters began looking for men fluent in Navajo and English Why would men volunteer to fight for a nation that had humbled their ancestors, killed their herds, and wouldn't even let them vote?
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