March 5, 2003  


Kay Granger Calls on Congress to Honor Native American Code Talkers


Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) is calling on Congress to recognize the contributions of Native American Code Talkers to U.S. victories in World War I and World War II. Granger today introduced legislation to authorize the President to present Congressional Gold Medals to members of the Choctaw, Comanche, Sioux and any other tribe who used their unique dialects to communicate coded messages to U.S. troops on enemy location and strength.

"The Nicholas Cage movie ‘Wind Talkers’ brought much-deserved and overdue recognition to the contributions of Navajo Code Talkers, who used their ancient and complicated language to help win several important battles in World War II," Representative Granger said. "These heroes have been rightly honored with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor."

"Most people, however, would probably be surprised to learn that courageous warriors from many other tribes fought valiantly on the battlefield in defense of America as far back as World War I," Granger continued. "They not only created and implemented the most secure form of military communication at the time; they also risked their lives scouting out enemy positions, often alone and in dangerous territory."

Military commanders have credited code talkers with saving the lives of countless American soldiers and helping win several major battles in Europe and the Pacific. For example, eight Choctaw code talkers in World War I were instrumental in helping the American Expeditionary Force to win key battles in the Mousse-Argonne campaign, which proved to be the final big German push of that war. Thirteen Comanches used their unbreakable code on D-Day to prevent the Nazis from intercepting radio messages coordinating the Allied invasion of Normandy. Sioux code talkers used three dialects to confuse Japan and Germany as the United States island-hopped across the Pacific and liberated Europe in World War II.

Granger’s initiative, the "Native American Code Talkers Recognition Act", passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly last year, but was not acted on by the Senate before congressional adjournment. This year, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is sponsoring a Senate companion to Granger’s bill.

The Congressional Gold Medal is considered the nation's highest and most distinguished civilian award given by Congress.