A routine photo op with Navajo code talkers morphed into a strange situation a few days ago. When President Trump referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahantas”, the Navajo code talkers clearly seemed uncomfortable. After all, this team of heroes was not accustomed to becoming embroiled in a strange political drama. For years, the group has managed to stay above the fray and enjoy recognition for the astonishing feats they were able to pull off during World War II.

It was back in the early days of World War II that the Navajo language was suggested as a solution. Since it is not a written language, there was no chance that enemies could find it somewhere and study it. There are also nuances to the Navajo language that make it extremely difficult for a new person to understand. With tonal qualities and syntax that really aren’t found anywhere else, this language would end up providing a key to the Untied States.

In 1942, the United States armed forces finally staged tests with the language, determining that Navajo code talkers could decipher a three-line code in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, a machine would take approximately a half-hour to break down the same exact code. The code talkers would go on to enjoy tremendous success, and it is believed that the U.S. would not have been able to take Iwo Jima without their assistance.

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture, Navajo Code Talkers

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