By definition, a “code talker” refers to a Native American who served during a foreign conflict and transmitted a secret coded message in their traditional tribal language for military operations during World War I and World War II.

In 2000, Navajo Code Talkers were honored with Congressional Gold Medals for their services in developing and implementing their traditional Dine’ language as a secretive code of communication on the battle fields in both WWI and WWII.

“However, many Americans do not know that members of nearly 32 other Indian tribes served as codetalkers in World War I and World War II and have never been formally recognized for their service to our country,” said Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado at the Senate Hearing on Code Talkers

During this hearing on the “Contributions of Native American Code Talkers in American Military History, Senator Campbell lists 32 other tribes to serve as code talkers during both the Pacific and European campaigns as; Comanche, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Osage, Lakota, Dakota, Chippewa, Oneida, Sac and Fox, Meskwaki, Hopi, Assiniboine, Kiowa, Pawnee, Akwesasne, Menominee, Creek, Cree Seminole Tribes and Other unlisted tribes...

Clarence Wolf Guts, last surviving Lakota code talker who passed away in 2010, testified at the 2004 Senate Hearing, “I am a full-blood Indian, and we do whatever we can to protect the United States because we love America… I was sitting there in the foxhole with a radio, trying to give the orders that were given to us to pass on to the chief-of-staff… We used our own code and we did whatever we could to protect our country… When I see young children playing without supervision, I realize why we’re over there.”

It was during World War II when many of the other Oceti Sakowin tribal groups served as code talkers. This would include the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, with Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe continuing research to confirm code talkers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) has the largest number of code talkers for any tribe across the country to receive the Congressional Gold Medal; including Navajo code talkers.

Despite not becoming citizens of the United States until June 2, 1924, the first reported use of Native Americans as code talkers was on October 17, 1918 during World War I. This was nearly 24 years after the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Walter "Cody" John served as a code talker during World War II. 

The Native American code talkers took great pride in the oath of secrecy for their service as military instruments which helped to defeat the enemies of the United States on many battle fields.


Responses to "Honoring 33 Native Tribes who Served As Code Talkers to Save the U.S"

  1. Unknown says:

    They all deserve recognition and medals!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to a group of men who used their personal skills to aid this country in such a valuable way!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm not an American but have always respected the native Indian Tribes for not only what they did during WW2 but now have found out what they did in WW1 as well.The native tribes are to America what the Gurkha people of Nepal are to us British people completely loyal and should be honored that way.

  4. Anonymous says:

    now look at what they're doing at Standing Rock... ungrateful

  5. Unknown says:

    Just taking care of our country! I'm so proud of all that helped win the war. May you all walk with the Creator. Rest in peace. Thank you. ❤️

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for serving our country & our people! You honor us all, even though I did not know you personally! Now you have taken your places beside The Great Spirit & continue to be a Blessing to all of us ♡♡♡

  7. Unknown says:

    More information like this NEEDS to be shared with more americans, in the U.S.A. especially.. Even teenagers in schools do not know of the long dedicated services that the First Nations Indigenous People have sacrificed to help keep this country safe!

  8. Unknown says:

    What a unique way of using your own language to help keep this country and soldiers safe. I applaud you and the work you have done. Thank you for your service and may you always remembered with honor for doing an outstanding job. It shouldn't of taken so long for Native Americans to be recognized for their unique abilities. I understand why it had to be secret though. The fact that the language of each tribe is
    different definitely made a bigger challenge for the enemy.

  9. 1sbwa says:

    Of course that would lead to needing so.e answers to the claims by natives that the US Government wiped out all native languages by forbidding them.

  10. Unknown says:

    When there is no more water, land, food, the circle of life has a code , and to all wars the language of the universe can only see to it that original people of "turtle Island" and granted that of the man and women with the gift of language. Then being said, it is not to forget to the begotten people. Honor is Victorious, dishonor is a rude awakening. Always know your path of life, for choices of riches is not always the protection of spiritual being, however you will always be victorious that you walk humble. Protect Mother Earth and her children for the blood will soon appear to be showing its true colours. -endensum 777-17

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for your service to America.You are true American heroes that our childern ought to be learning about in schools.You have alot of repect from me.

  12. Yatee he ...I was lucky to meet a Navajo code talker and thank him personnally during a pow-wow.
    As a tour guide I always talk about that story during my stay in Dine nation. I have lots of respect for the Indian nations that survived today. They have so much to teach us ...

  13. Anonymous says:

    Aho,from Korean war UNSMC,Winchester,NH

  14. Unknown says:

  15. Unknown says:

    In the world today, greed and disrespect rule our society. Does anyone remember when dedication to America as a nation of fellow citizens was our standard? Our Native American citizens have NEVER forgotten. There is a cost to the wonderful membership we enjoy as American citizens!

  16. neache says:

    Every Native American Tribe and its members and their respective Nations, should receive the respect that was taken from them. Thank you all for winning the wars this country has fought, for without you, many more lives would have been lost. I salute you all.

  17. Unknown says:

    Is Very Very importan Heart is Mhoter-

  18. The statement "This [1918] was nearly 24 years after the Battle of the Little Big Horn" is incorrect. That battle took place in 1876, 42 years before.

  19. Unknown says:

    I realize that the Navajo completed a great service to a country they owed nothing to. The 2 original Choctaw code Talkers and their brothers that made up a total of 26 languages in the 36 th Division in World War I,need more recognition in my (doesn't matter) opinion. Without these men, would the U.S. military have actually thought of using languages they were trying to destroy?

  20. Thom Faircloth says:

    It is a shame that Ben Nighthorse Campbell did not mention the Dine' (Navajo). As a chief of the Northern Cheyanne who served Colorado which borders on Navajo lands in both Arizona and New Mexico he should know better. The Navajo Code Talkers memorial at Window Rock Arizona is breathtaking.

  21. Unknown says:

    The land is still theirs, the minds and souls of the occupiers will not return to connectivity with the earth and skies until they can understand what they have done with repentance and humility and return to equality and respect for all life

  22. Wizard says:

    Semper Fi...USMC 63-67 Such an honor!

  23. So much respect for the Tlingit Code Talkers!

  24. Unknown says:

    In my new book, Memories of War and Peace, I tell the stories of the 19 Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and Joseph Oklahombi, Oklahoma's greatest warrior. Thanks to these brave men and what they did, it is estimated that the helped to defeat the Germans and end the war a year and a half earlier than it did.

  25. There were also members of the North Eastern United States Iroquois Nations I was told were code talkers. There was also an "Ace" pilot of a P-40 Curtis Warhawk. He was of a Ho Chunk father and a Seneca mother from Wisconsin. I know this is not a Code Talker person, BUT according to all accounts from Army Air Force veterans I have talked with, THEY said he must have been a "natural" as P 40's were NOT known for good areal combat planes. They were VERY tough ground support planes and they were the ONLY plane ready for combat in mass production at the start of WWII. TOO little is known from or about him.

  26. It is amazing for all the good they have done for this country they and there lands are treated like shit. If you went to Standing Rock as I did you would have seen how poorly they live it is as bad well really worse than the Harlum slums and yes I have been to both places. And our government turns around every chance they get and McCain was one of them that sold there lands to mineral companies to destroy with out permission form the tribes. We still kill them with impunity they also don't get any of the royalties. It is a shame we are all so wound up in our own lives that we never think about the native Americans that have suffered ever since our ancestors took there land and there lives. Think ab out that and they still come to our aid to win wars and even then they are in the back round only to be forgotten.

  27. GeneBetit says:

    Dear courageous "anonymous:" Those at Standing Rock are only trying to protect their land from despoliation and water from contamination.

  28. Nantanian says:

    The people of Turtle Island are probably the most forgiving in world history. After being robbed of their land, and raped of their culture, they turned around and helped their transgressors in America's darkest hour. There should be a National Native American Day.

  29. Unknown says:

    very proud to hear the story of the code talkers

  30. Unknown says:

    Thank you code talkers. We really confused all those people

  31. Mohawk315 says:

    Akwesasne is a RESERVATION that is occupied by the MOHAWK tribe.

  32. Jerry Medlin says:

    As a Native Oklahoman, but not of Indian decent, I have many friends that ARE NATIVE AMERICANS, and some ARE RELATIVES of the CODE TALKERS. I am PROUD to call them FRIENDS, and HONOR THEIR RELATIVES for their SERVICE and SACRIFICE to OUR country. GOD BLESS THEM ALL!!

  33. Miranda says:

    I just love this and everything I have read on those Code Talkers .. They are TRUE HERO'S

  34. I met a code talker at old town in Albuquerque, New Mexico while I was visiting my da. I had my daughter go n talk with him n take a picture with him also. She was a JROTC Army Cadet in high school. I sure wish I could remember his name. She asked a few questions n he was very Quiet man. I stand up n applaud our Native veterans. They helped save the USA. Kiowa code talkers. Many Ah ho’s n may Daw kee bless all the families of the code talkers.

  35. Anonymous says:

    My mother said my grandfather was used more like a dispensable dog in the forests of France during WWI carrying messages to the front lines. He was Native American and got out of forced Indian Boarding School at 15 by joining the army....

  36. Unknown says:

    I commend all the Native peoples for their contribution in the wars, and also the Natives in Canada, whom I am sure they were in the wars also. Not only the American Natives. They deserve a lot. Thank you to them all.

  37. In 2016 I walked across the United States from Seal Beach California at the Pacific Ocean through 11 states to the Vietnam War Memorial arriving at the Wall on 9/11/2016 at sunrise. One of my most memorable experiences was meeting Peter MacDonald the past President of the Navajo Nation. He was a Code Talker and you can see our conversion on Youtube Butch Azar and the Navajo Code Talker he tell this story when he was 88 years old. I took this footage in his home and he spoke for 20 minutes and nailed the whole story of the Navajo Cold Talker.

  38. May God Bless all who serve! I have two Sons in the U.S. Army, and my Father, Sister, numerous uncles, and a nephew have also served our Beloved Nation! My heart is filled with gratitude and pride as I am also decendent of American Revolution Soldiers! AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE. BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!!

  39. novak says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  40. novak says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  41. novak says:

    rip Soldiers, and thank you. My heart is filled with gratitude and pride at the freedom ya'll helped all Americans to have...until we meet in the hunting grounds of our forefathers

  42. Unknown says:


  43. Gary says:

    I honor your service! I too served in the Army.My kin also served in europe & the pacific in WW2. Have heard if the famous navajo code talkers all of my life. Am part Cherokee so am also glad to hear of the other nations participating. Your name lives on. Be blessed of the LORD!

  44. JEP311 says:

    Aho each and everyone of the Code Talkers are Heroic. WWII would not have been as it came to end without them . WADO Medals are an honor very deserved.

  45. Shawna says:

    Thank you code talkers, you are all heroes!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    You never know when somebody will tap you on the shoulder and ask you to show your talents. It's always good to have two or three of them that you can pull down off the shelf and save lives along with an entire country.

  47. Unknown says:

    How sad the other tribes have not been recognized. How disrespectful.

  48. Unknown says:

    I'm so honored to be Native. Im very much vexed by the position the US government has forced on my people. Before white man came. We were at peace. We fought for necessity, not to conquer. This land, mother earth was given to us. Beautiful. And the white man's ways have destroyed a fruitful land, it's wild life, it's resources, etc. We have been put through a genocide,each tribe here in the Americas. Made to change our life ti suit a selfish, power hungry, people. So forgive me if I have a bad taste in my mouth.
    And by the way, it hasn't ended. Standing Rock is a prime example of a corrupt government taking what they want. And not honoring a treaty for personal gain. That's despicable, that's beyond disrespectful.

  49. Unknown says:

    Thanks for all the service.

  50. Unknown says:

    Thank You God Bless

  51. They will always be honored
    Thank you to all code talkers
    That helped in that historical

  52. Anonymous says:

    I have much respect for our Native Americans, I have always felt our country would be in much better shape if they had more control over their native lands, instead of us the white man who took that away their land from them and their people. They in return helped us to protect our freedoms and rights, again we owe them much respect and honor for what they done for us in WW2 and beyond.

  53. Billy says:

    It's about time they are getting the recognition that they deserve. I am proud to say that I am a Army veteran. And that the Code Talkers did one great job.

  54. akwesasne is a reserve. should say mohawk

  55. Anonymous says:

    And yet no mention of the Choctaw.

  56. ������������Our late father Rodney Lincoln, Sr.of Kotzebue, Alaska was a code talker along with A. Browser, a gentleman from Barrow, Alaska during WWII. They were both in the Army. Our late father was in the hundred and first airborne! Our Inupiaq language was not a written language then. Very proud of these two Eskimo men who were coders! ������������

  57. At a military training class at Camp Shelby Mississippi one time I was asked to do report on Communications. my communication subject that I chose were the codebreakers. I showed in my class how communication is the base of winning a war or objective and how the Native Americans did that not just for the United States but for the whole world. I would love to sit down with a shaman and go through a few ceremonies. My family's home was 3.4 miles off the Trail of Tears in Middle Tennessee. At 5:20 in the morning one time, I woke to a 6ft 2in Native American standing at the foot of my bed. I telepathically heard the name Testanchuo. I have his tattoo on my left arm now.

  58. Unknown says:

    They saved the US $Billions, but not their Tribes... And a "Thanks" is all they got... Shoulda stayed home and fought for their Sovereignty and Rights instead...

  59. I knew Clarence Wolf Guts when I served as Chaplain to the SD Veterans Home, great American, also worked the Navajo Code Talkers special event amateur Radio station, N7C, this past weekend.

  60. Unknown says:

    Honor all Semper fi Brothers

  61. Unknown says:

    For all you Navajo Tribal members,and you Navajo Admirers
    As well as our
    US Nation History books.There were 32 other tribal nations that were also Code talker during WW II. And for you Readers, It wasn't the Navajo nation that implemented the Code talkers. It was the Choctaw nation from Oklahoma who implemented it During the 1st World, and continued it into the 2nd World War. So DON'T BELIEVE everything you read or what you see on the Internet. Ralp, 1/2 Ponca, 1/2
    Tohono O'Odham.

  62. Daniel says:

    Heroes, all of them!

  63. Unknown says:

    Wow. Thank you for the history lesson and thank you to all of the Indians who participated in any of our country's wars

  64. Unknown says:

    Gentlemen, thank you for your service. I wish we had publicized it more. You deserve the recognition and appreciation of the entire country...including our government.

  65. They should make statues of native soldiers to memorize the natives.

  66. Unknown says:

    This makes me even more proud of my Native American Heritage. Thank you so much to all the men and women who served then or are still serving to protect this great country of ours. Like someone already said in the comments above, May you all walk with the Creator.

  67. Greg says:

    Admire them all. Most folks don’t realize that more than a dozen Apache scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for their bravery in working with the US Army in its campaign against the Chiricahua....By the way, 1918 is 42, not 24, years after Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876. Just sayin’...I knew of several of the tribes providing code talkers but, not all. My friend Ravis Yazzie’s father was one.

  68. Thank you for service to your country.

  69. Unknown says:

    We owe all these men a debt of gratitude we can never repay. Thank you for seeing beyond the obvious!

  70. Unknown says:

    I'm Choctaw and proud of it! A lot of native Americans were removed from their homes and lands and sent west by Andrew Jackson. Just FYI.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I've read about the code talkers. Their abilities were and still are nothing of short of amazing. Their contribution helped the US win the war. Thank you to all code talkers from every Nation.

  72. Shep says:

    We owe all of you a debt we will never be able to repay! God bless each and every one.

  73. Unknown says:

    Thank you to all our Native American Code Talkers

  74. Anonymous says:

    IT's an Honor to live and breath on your land of this nation.

  75. Anonymous says:

    The Choctaw served as Code Talkers in WWI.

  76. Unknown says:

    they were heroes all thank you for your valuable service to this land you shoul all be honored and respected all Native Nations deserve to be honored we are all one all related all equal Creator bless you all.....

  77. Unknown says:

    Emerging Research
    Much of what we know today about the Cree code talkers came to light in 2003, when Charles Tomkins was interviewed by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian for an exhibition called Native Words, Native Warriors, that featured the famed Navajo code talkers.

    Researchers have accessed declassified Canadian military files regarding the secret mission to which the Cree code talkers were assigned. Although military archives exist and are available, Tomkins may have been the last of his comrades to know anything of this secret operation.

    In 2016, two Indigenous filmmakers, Alexandra Lazarowich and Cowboy Smithx, brought to public attention the story of Charles Tomkins for the first time in Canada. Their short documentary, Cree Code Talker, highlights Tomkins’s story, featuring audio footage of his interview with the Smithsonian as well as video footage of two of his brothers talking about Tomkins.

  78. Debi Cole. says:

    Thank you Mr. Wolfguts for you service and your bravery. May the Great Spirit honor and care for you.

  79. Unknown says:

    I noticed that the Choctaw tribe was not mentioned and they were involved in the WW1 code talking in its infancy

  80. Anonymous says:

    To the unknown who said "they should have stayed home and fought for their sovereignty and rights" how about they be dead or under Hitler's control

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