Military History Monday: Native American Code Talkers of World War I

AmericanFlagNovember is the month we celebrate Veterans Day and it’s also National Native American Heritage Month.  In honor of those designations and Military History Monday, today’s article will honor the Native American code talkers of World War I.

The first thing to be noted is these Native American soldiers were not officially United States citizens at the time, nor were they allowed to vote, yet they served honorably and with distinction.  According to research conducted by the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, over twelve thousand Native Americans, representing about one-fourth of the entire male population of American Indians at that time, were serving their country during World War I.

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  1. Hello,
    Yes, there were Cherokee and other Native American’s in the 36th ID, but the Cherokee utilized their native tongue one month earlier with the 30th ID, 105th Field Signal Battalion around October 6-8, 1918. They were pulled from the 119th and 120th Infantry Regiment to serve with the 105th. The idea was allegedly was that of CPT John W. Stanley. He recounts the story in a paper written for the Infantry School Advance Course in the 1930-31 class. Furthermore, These particular Cherokee came from the 1st North Carolina Infantry Regiment (National Guard).

    • That’s interesting. Just curious, do you have a connection to any of the Native American code talkers in either World War I or II? If you can provide me with specific resources or web links, I will update the story. Thanks for stopping by and reading the blog!

  2. Hi, Seems to me that there had to be at least 2 code talkers to transmit messages, one to send and one to receive. My grand uncle Arthur Evans Robertson Served in the 143rd Infantry, 36th Division. Maybe he talked with George.

  3. My Dad, David Conrad Robertson was a long line telephone/radio officer in the Signal Corps with General Patton’s Third Army in World War II. He took a oath not to talk about his war experiences for 50 years and died before he felt he could disclose what he did in the War. He also was Cherokee and he probably had Code Talkers under his command.

    • Interesting! Thanks for sharing.


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