Navajo code talkers in South Pacific, 1943
Photo courtesy National Archives
The Smithsonian traveling exhibit "Native Words, Native Warriors" will be on display at the Minnesota History Center, May 23 – Aug. 23. The exhibit explores American Indian soldiers who were trained as "code talkers", using their native languages to transmit secret tactical messages in World Wars I and II. Their stories are offered through graphic panels and oral histories in conjunction with the new exhibit "Minnesota's Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom.”
The code talker exhibit explores the code, battlefield experiences and shift in attitude towards the use of their native language with graphic panels and oral histories from veteran "code talkers."
On opening weekend, May 23 – 25, three days of family activities will be offered, including an Honor and Remembrance ceremony with a WWII aircraft flyover, on Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day.)
A public reception on June 23, from 5 to 8 p.m., will highlight the role of Dakota code talkers from Minnesota and will include an invocation given by a Dakota spiritual leader, an American Indian Color Guard and honor songs sung by an American Indian drum group. Following the formal program tours of the exhibit showcasing the Minnesota connection will be offered.
(Reuben St. Clair, a Dakota from the Lower Sioux Indian Community, served as a code-talker during WWII. Photo courtesy Darlene St. Clair.
"Native Words, Native Warriors" was produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition was made possible in part thanks to the generous support of Elizabeth Hunter Solomon. Additional support has been provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the AMB Foundation. For more exhibit information go to www.minnesotahistorycenter.org
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