Native Americans in WWII

By Christa Cordrey


The most famous role of Native Americans in World War II was performed by the Navajo Indians. They were “code talkers,” using their own complex native language to help the American troops keep their plans secret from the Japanese. Many codes were used during the war, but the Navajo code was the only one that the Japanese were never able to break.

Navajo code talkers


These Navajo Indians had to meet the requirements of army recruitment the same as any other enlister. They also attended the army boot camp.


Once boot camp was completed, the first group of Navajos met with some army officers to design the necessary code using Indian words for everyday things to describe military items, such as the Navajo word for hummingbird used in place of fighter plane.


“In 1942, there were about 50,000 Navajo tribe members.

As of 1945, about 540 Navajos served as Marines.

From 375 to 420 of those trained as code talkers; the rest served in other capacities.”


The Navajos worked around the clock with speed and accuracy, sending and receiving messages for the United States Military.

They were honored for their service by the Department of Defense.


Native American Coders Honored


Recently a movie has been filmed titled Windtalkers (2002). This movie tells the story of the Navajo Code Talkers and their amazing service during World War II encrypting messages for the U. S. army.