When the United States issued the call to arms in World Wars I and II, American Indians answered as warriors.
Some men discovered that words—in their native languages—would be their most valued weapons. Crackling over the airwaves and telephone lines, the code talkers’ messages proved indecipherable to the enemy and helped the United States achieve victory in combat.
Decades later, the U.S. government declassified the code talker programs, paving the way for the participants’ long-overdue recognition.
“Native Words, Native Warriors” tells the remarkable story of Indian soldiers from more than a dozen tribes who used their native languages in the service of the U.S. military.
On April 20, the Wyandotte County Historical Museum, 631 N. 126th, Bonner Springs, will serve as host to the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “Native Words, Native Warriors.”
On Sunday, April 21, the museum will serve as host for a special opening for the exhibition. Guest speaker will be State Rep. Ponca-We Victors, the first Native American woman to serve in the state house. The special opening will start at 2 p.m. Ron Brave from the Haskell University, Lawrence, will play the Native American flute at the event. For reservations, contact the museum at 913-573-5002.
“We are excited the Smithsonian Institute selected our museum to display this very important exhibit,” Trish Schurkamp, executive director of the Wyandotte County Historical Museum, said. “It is important that we remember and celebrate the lives of those brave men who had no native voice until World War I and II.”
Developed with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, this exhibition was made possible in part thanks to the support of Elizabeth Hunter Solomon. Additional support has been provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and the AMB Foundation.
“Native Words, Native Warriors” will run from April 20 to June 29 at the museum. It includes displays of video, and newsreel footage. For more information visit www.wycomuseum.org.
- Information from Wyandotte County Museum
- Posted by Mary Rupert