National Native American Heritage month in the USA

Did you know that November is National Native American Heritage month in the USA? My ears pricked up when I heard this, partly because, according to family legend, my great-great grandmother was Abenaki and partly because I find all languages fascinating – which is why I become a MFL publisher.  The National Museum of the American Indian has a fascinating story on their website and Native Americans who worked as ‘code talkers’ during WWI and WWII.

American Indian Code Talkers were communications specialists. Their job was to send coded messages about troop movements, enemy positions, and other critical information on the battlefield. Some Code Talkers translated messages into their Native languages and relayed them to another tribal member. Others developed a special code within their languages that they used in combat to send important messages.The enemies never managed to decipher the coded messages that they sent.

What makes this story even more remarkable is that the Native Americans were subject to extreme racism and discrimination. Most American Indians were not legally considered citizens of the United States until 1924. Even then, some states refused to let American Indians vote until as late as the 1950s.

You can read more details here:

http://nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/index.html

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