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Virtual Date With History

The First Code Talkers: Native American Communicators in World War I

Thursday, June 3
7:00 PM CDT Online via Zoom
Free Event but Registration Required


The First Code Talkers explores the origin of Native American Code Talking – the use of Native American languages for secure military communication in the US Armed Forces – in World War I. This presentation will look at how the codes developed, their structure, use in combat, all groups presently known to have used them in the Great War, and recognition to the present day. Included will be information on the Choctaw, Oklahoma Cherokee, Comanche, Osage, Lakota, and groups who have not yet been formally recognized including the Eastern Band of Cherokee of North Carolina, and Wisconsin Ho-Chunk, and their impacts in WW II and tribal communities. Join us for a power-point presentation on these unique Native American military contributions.

MEET THE SPEAKER: Dr. Meadows is the author of six books, five of which focus on Native American veterans: Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Military Societies (1999), The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II (2002), Kiowa Ethnogeography (2008), Kiowa Military Societies: Ethnohistory and Ritual (2010). Through Indian Sign Language: The First Sill Ledgers of Lt. Hugh L. Scott and Iseeo (2015), and The First Code Talkers: Native American Communicators in World War I (2021). He has published articles on Native American Veterans, Code Talkers, and Plains Indian art, language, maps, and origins

In 2004, he testified before a Congressional Senate Hearing on The Role of Native American Code Talkers in the United States Armed Forces, and spoke at the Library of Congress on Native American Code Talkers in 2005. He has spoke at several openings of the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibit on Native American Code Talkers “Native Words, Native Warriors” and other venues. His testimony and research were seminal in the passage of the 2008 Code Talkers Recognition Act (Public Law 110-420), which brought federal recognition and Congressional Gold and Silver Medals for all Native American Code Talkers.

Dr. Meadows research teaches several courses on Native American cultures, and courses on World Cultures, Cultural Anthropology, Peoples and Cultures of Japan, Ethnohistory, an ethnographic field school, and a course on Native American Code Talking. Dr. Meadows is the head of the Missouri State Native American Studies Committee. He comes from a family of many Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Veterans.

Are you a teacher?

Illinois teachers can earn 2 PD credits for watching the presentation and filling out a short PD activity.

Step 1: Register for the webinar above.

Step 2: Register to be on the teacher list for the PD activity and ISBE forms.

This program includes built-in closed captioning through Zoom.