Native Language Honored or Exploited By Non-Natives?

Last week marked a tribal holiday for Navajo Code Talkers. These brave men served in World War II for U.S. forces, and developed a creative code based off of their Native language. The code was used as a way to communicate between troops, without the threat of the Japanese forces intercepting and translating the message.

Unquestionably, these men deserve the honor they receive, and then some, but how do you feel about native language being used in this capacity? Do you feel like the language was being honored or exploited, or perhaps both? Would your feelings change if code talkers were to participate in modern day battles for the United States? If so, what caused that change? Lastly, how do you feel about the representation of code talkers in the media? Do you think popular films such as, Windtalkers, gives an accurate/fair portrayal of the value of Native languages? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.  We greatly appreciate your participation in this dialogue!

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One Response to Native Language Honored or Exploited By Non-Natives?

  1. Berni Santamaria says:

    What about another important question? Having attended/participated in numerous native language-related events at community- and academic levels, it seems that there are many more non-native people studying, researching on, writing about, publishing dictionaries for, etc., etc., Indigenous languages of the Americas.

    Has anyone ever wondered if some of these people from other nations are preparing for the possible use of native languages in future wars? This is a disturbing thought & one I hesitate to bring up but it seems like we, native people, do not study other ethnic groups’ languages as much as they do ours.

    As for your question on whether we agree with modern usage of our languages in similar circumstances, I would state no unless our tribal nations are to use our languages when directly threatened militarily for our benefit.

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