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Navajo Code Talkers Day: History and Significance of the Day



Navajo Code Talkers Day

National Navajo Code Talkers Day is Aug. 14. This holiday honors the contributions of Native Americans/First Nations individuals who contributed to the United States war effort during World War Two, as well as recognizing the evolution of U.S. code connected with Native American languages and the participation of First Nations tribe members in U.S. military endeavors from many conflicts.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 14th as National Navajo Code Talkers Day. 2022 imprints the 80th anniversary of the over 400 Navajo men recruited during World War II as Code Talkers, an elite group of U.S. Marines who developed an unbreakable code utilizing their native language, a code the Japanese won’t ever break.

NationalNavajo Code Talkers Day will next be seen on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022.

The story of the Navajo code talkers is complex. An object to the name of the holiday, mistakenly accepting that Navajo tribe members are singled out for the distinction at the expense of other tribes that participating in this war effort.

Yet, the name of the holiday refers not to the Navajo tribe itself, but rather is a broader term that refers to the “Navajo code” used to fool Axis powers including the Nazis and Japanese Imperial forces. Get more familiar with that process below.

President Ronald Reagan laid out Navajo Code Talkers Day in 1982, and the holiday honors every one of the tribes associated with the war effort including (however not restricted to):

  • Cherokee
  • Choctaw
  • Comanche
  • Hopi


The Navajo code depended upon the intricacy of the Navajo language as well as additional encoding of the messages (contingent upon when and where they were sent). These joined factors rendered it difficult to break as a code, and a few sources report it is a rarity, potentially the as it were “code” utilized by the U.S. military, that was never broken during the struggles it was utilized in.

Enter The Navajo Code

1942 was a significant year for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, it’s an enormous milestone in the Navajo Code Talkers story. The U.S. Marine Corps partnered together with Philip Johnston, who spent a lot of his life living as the child of missionaries on Navajo reservations.

Johnston himself was not Navajo, but rather he realized the language so well that at nine years old it’s accounted that he filled in as an interpreter for a Navajo lobbyist group.

Johnston’s idea was to take the complex Navajo language and make a security code utilizing it. Local speakers would be expected to develop the program and do it, and an underlying group of 29 First Nations recruits were shipped off California. Johnston himself additionally enlisted.

Navajo: A Perfect Coding Language

The CIA official site reports that Navajo was deemed to be a close “perfect” language to create military codes with since non-native speakers are extremely interesting. The language was documented by missionaries, however, these individuals had to invent an alphabet to work with since a written one that could appear to be familiar to newcomers was not utilized by the tribe itself.

The Navajo Code itself isn’t just the utilization of the language. Military communications were additionally encrypted by involving Navajo as the baseline for a word-substitution code that may be effectively weak in any case whenever rendered in English or French.

Creating The Code

The Navajo language and its intricacy gave the military a benefit when it came time to make the code. Word substitution made it “virtually unbreakable” as per the CIA. How did the code work? It will look intimately acquainted to some – assuming you have at any point played paper cryptography games, you’ll perceive a portion of the strategies used to encode the Navajo language.

The Navajo speakers, in quite possibly the best model, took normal Navajo bird names and applied them to weapons of war. There were different measures likewise taken. The details of them aren’t generally so significant as the results.

As per the Central Intelligence Agency, Navajo Code Talkers translated, sent, and re-translated an initial coded message in around 150 seconds. Such endeavors managed without the utilization of the Navajo Code are said to have required hours by comparison. Nearly 400 code talkers were prepared and utilized in World War Two.

Delayed Recognition

Code Talkers were the unsung heroes of World War Two. There are some who firmly trust that the U.S. progress in the Battle of Iwo Jima was impractical without the participation of the Code Talkers. Nobody could know about the sacrifice and service of these American military heroes until the Code Talkers program was declassified in 1968.

It would require 14 additional years to be honored in a profoundly noticeable manner. That honor came in 1982 with the establishment of Navajo Code Talkers Day 1982 by President Ronald Reagan.

When the new century rolled over, President Bill Clinton awarded Congressional Gold Medals to 29 Code Talkers, and a year after that in 2001, President George W. Shrub introduced more medals to respect these veterans.

“The Navajo Code Talkers are American heroes,” said Governor Ducey. “They assisted on every major operation involving the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theatre, using their native language to come up with an unbreakable code. More than 400 Code Talkers answered the call to serve our nation, and Arizona is grateful for their dedication to protecting our nation. I’m proud to sign legislation that makes National Navajo Code Talkers day an official holiday, and I thank Senator Peshlakai for leading on this initiative.”

Under Senate Bill 1802, in the event that National Navajo Code Talkers Day falls on a day other than Sunday, the Sunday following August 14 is to be seen as the holiday.

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