Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Native American Code Talkers

Congressional Gold Medal for Native American Code Talkers

One of the Congressional Gold Medals honoring the Native American Code Talkers.
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Speaker Boehner

Speaker John Boehner leads the ceremony honoring the Code Talkers.

Presentation of colors.

Presentation of colors.

Representatives of the 33 tribes.

Representatives of the 33 tribes receiving the Congressional Gold Medal line up in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

Francis Whitebird

Francis Whitebird, a Vietnam Veteran and son of Code Talker Noah Whitebird, shows off pins that represent the wars in which his family has fought. The top one represents the Indian Wars, the last ones Afghanistan and Iraq.

Wallace Coffey, Bessie Wahnee, Irene Permansu.

Wallace Coffey (standing left), Bessie Wahnee (seated middle), and Irene Permansu (seated right) represent the Comanche Nation. Ms. Wahnee’s husband, Ralph (deceased) and Ms. Permansu’s husband Melvin (deceased) were both Code Talkers in World War II.

Leonard Chibitty

Leonard Chibitty representing his uncle Morris Sunrise, a Code Talker.

Delight Martinez and Gov. Gregg Shutiva.

Delight Martinez standing with Pueblo of Acoma Governor Gregg Shutiva. They are in front of the statue of Po’Pay an American Indian leader from the 1600s whose statue is in the U.S. Capitol, Emancipation Hall.

Thirty-three Native American tribes were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal at a U.S. Capitol ceremony on November 20th.

Tribes from across the country were recognized for their contributions during World Wars I and II. Using their native languages  these Native Americans, known as “code talkers” transmitted secret battlefield communications that could not be cracked by America’s enemies.  Those who served rarely spoke of their work, which remained classified for many years.

In honoring the tribes with the highest medal Congress can bestow, Speaker John Boehner called the Code Talkers, “the bravest of the brave” and said they were, “unrecognized for far too long, but now given the highest recognition.”