Tester, Walsh award Crow Nation Code Talkers with Congressional Gold Medal
Four World War II Native American Soldiers Awarded Highest Congressional Honor
(U.S. SENATE) – Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Senator John Walsh (D-Mont.), along with Treasurer of the United States Rosa Gumataotao Rios, today presented descendants of Crow Nation Code Talkers with Congressional Gold Medals.
The descendants’ forefathers used the Crow language during military intelligence operations in World War II to save countless lives. Conceived in 1918, the code talker program used unique Native American languages for communications, and it comprised more than 400 Native Americans who volunteered to defend the nation.
“The Crow Tribe has a long and proud history of serving in the Armed Forces. Today we honor four men who dedicated themselves to ensuring that the United States would remain free,” Tester said. “These young men transmitted secret coded messages using their language which was so unique that the code could not be broken by enemy forces. That unbreakable code and the spirit of the Code Talkers live on today in the language and culture of the Crow Nation.”
“This medal is long overdue but represents the deep gratitude of the American people for the indispensable service provided by the Crow Nation Code Talkers,” Walsh said. “These four American heroes represent the best of Montana and our nation and I’m proud that these men and their families are finally receiving the proper recognition for helping free our world of tyranny.”
Chairman Darrin Old Coyote of the Crow Nation said, “Today was a historic day for our tribe. Two of my grandfathers were honored today, and this recognition means a lot to us. All of the Code Talkers sacrificed a lot for this country, utilizing our language to protect and serve this nation. We wouldn’t be here today without their service.”
“It has been a distinct privilege to oversee the production of this magnificent Congressional Gold Medal that honors the Code Talkers of the Crow Nation. Twenty-six medals have been issued to recognize the dedication and valor of the Native American Code Talkers. Crow Nation is the 27th awardee,” said Rosa Gumataotao Rios, Treasurer of the United States.
The Crow Nation soldiers honored today were Barney Old Coyote, Henry Old Coyote, Samson Birdinground and Cyril Notafraid.
Accepting the medals on behalf of his relatives and their families was Chairman Darrin Old Coyote and Speaker of the House of the Crow Nation, Knute Old Crow.