Code Talkers Topic of Latest ITC Show
Native Words, Native Warriors is courtesy of the Smithsonian ========================================
Native Americans were critical to winning both world wars.
In both WW I and WW II, their various languages helped bring about victory to the Allies.
Since Americans couldn't understand Comanche or Navajo, it was certain the Japanese and Germans couldn't either.
"They were brought on with the armed services because our codes were being broken consistently,"
says Lupita Barerra of the Institute of Texan Cultures.
October 19th, the institute opens the traveling Smithsonian exhibit : Native Words, Native Warriors
Barerra says transmitting messages in war requires speaking in code and as the American military brass kept having their codes broken, they employed Native Americans to speak their language, which was unbreakable, though they had invent new words for ones not native to their language.
"There was no word for 'tank' or 'destroyer' so they would
say: 'Well, that looks like a turtle'. So the code word for tank was turtle," says Barerra.
"One or two code talkers are left. One living in New Mexico and he is in his 90s."