Thirty-three Native American tribes were recognized at a ceremony honoring Native American Code Talkers for service to the United States Armed Forces during World War I and World War II. Twenty-five tribes accepted Congressional Gold Medals. Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Sub-Chief Michael Conners accepted a certificate on behalf of Akwesashró:non in Washington, DC on November 20, 2013. The ceremony was held in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
Code Talkers were relied upon by the military to quickly transmit messages during wartime using their native languages. The “code” was never broken by the enemy. Sub-Chief Conners was moved by the honored men in attendance as he accepted a certificate on behalf of our Tribe. Senators and members of Congress spoke throughout the ceremony, sharing stories about individual Code Talkers.
Each Tribe designated by the U.S. Department of Defense as having had Code Talker service members is authorized to receive a gold medal. Each designated Code Talker, or their next-of-kin, may be eligible for a duplicate silver medal. The uniquely designed minted medals will be designed by a local artisan. Upon receipt of the medals, a ceremony will be held for our community to celebrate the seventeen Akwesashró:non Veterans receiving this prestigious award: Louis E. King, Joe King, Charles Lazore, Joe Harry Pike, Angus B. Cook, Mike Arquette, Joseph Barnes, Thomas Cole, Angus J. Laughing, Alex Oakes, Alex W. Peters, Mitchell Sunday, Albert Tarbell, Reginald White, Alex W. Lazore, Louis L. Oakes, and Louis S. Conners. The U.S. Department of Defense is currently authenticating service members whose family members have come forward on behalf of their Veteran.
The final medal design selected will be sent to the United States Mint. The deadline for sketch design submissions is December 20, 2013. For more information, please contact the Communications Department at the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe @ 518-358-2272.