(Originally posted on January 25, 2008, in the original Random Dewey blog)
[...] Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac. As the subtitle says, this is a “novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two.” It’s a first-person story about Ned Begay, a fictional young Navajo in Arizona. Ned leaves the mission boarding school at age 16 to join the Marines, where he becomes part of a top secret project to design and use a radio code based on the Navajo language. The very existence of this code remained top secret until 1969. Consequently, none of the Navajo were recognized nor honored for their work until decades later. The big irony about the Navajo code is that it was devised by Navajo who had been strictly forbidden to speak their native language at the mission school where they were educated.