Navajo code-talkers

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Fri Dec 22 16:19:50 UTC 2000


This subject has come up on the list once in a while.  For those
interested, a very recent book, "World War II and the American
Indian", Kenneth Willim Townsend, U. New Mexico Pr., 2000, has a
discussion on pp. 145-150, with references including unpublished
stuff from military archives and from an oral history.

You can also get a Navajo code talker GI Joe doll -- excuse me, action
figure. Push the button and it says (at random, or maybe in rotation) one
of about eight phrases, which are listed on the box in transcription and
with translations.

There's one that's about 15 words long that is translated as "[place name]
taken." I forget the place name; it looks like it might be the name of some
Pacific island. The disproportion in length seems laughable until you
realize that since the Navajo code talkers' job was to communicate with
each other while concealing the content from non-Navajos, any place name
had to be replaced with either an arbitrary code name or a description.

My wife gave me this for my birthday. I am very happy with it. :-D\

-- Mark A. Mandel

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