The History Girls: CHOCTAW CODE TALKERS by Tanya Landman

At the end of the ‘Indian Wars’ in the 19th century many Native American children were taken away from their parents and sent to school to become ‘civilized.’  The policy – ‘kill the Indian to save the child’ – meant cutting their hair, putting them in white people’s clothes, forbidding them to speak their own languages.

When the First World War broke out in Europe American Indians were not citizens of the country they lived in (in fact, they were only granted US citizenship in 1924).  Their languages were considered obsolete.  But then, in 1917,  a group of 19 young Choctaw men arrived in Europe as part of the US Expeditionary Force.

Their story is told in the following memorandum:

Headquarters 142nd Infantry, A.E.F.

January 23, 1919, A.P.O. No. 796

From: C.O. 142nd Infantry

To: The Commanding General 36th Division (Attention Capt. Spence)

Subject: Transmitting messages in Choctaw

In compliance with memorandum, Headquarters 36th Division, January 21, 1919,to C.O. 142nd Infantry, the following account…

via The History Girls: CHOCTAW CODE TALKERS by Tanya Landman.

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