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Today's feature on National Native news Navajo code talkers day. I'm Nelly more. Most people know that August 14 marks the 50th anniversary of the Japanese surrender and the end of World War 2. But it's also the anniversary of National Navajo code talkers day established in one thousand eighty two code talkers day recognizes a group of Navajo men who served in the Marine Corps during the Second World War. As Sam few corps reports the men developed a system of code based on the Navajo language that proved unbreakable. Colonel Gorman was 34 years old in one thousand forty two. When word came to Navajo mountain that the Marines were looking for a few good Navajos there wasn't much work available so Garmin decided to lie about his age. Since the Marines didn't want anyone over 30 and signed up for what he thought would be a desk job in Washington they want to or developers will replace utility will fit you know mine. We were out of it you know and you know I'm probably going to get a good job in Washington D.C..
It drove all night from an anvil into a window and that special duty turned out to be about as far from Washington as possible on the front lines of the island by island battles being fought in the South Pacific. Gorman was part of the first group of what eventually became 400 Navajo men who used their language as a military code for the Marine Corps in the war against Japan. It wasn't the first time a native language had been used for modern battlefield communications during World War One Choctaw soldiers in the U.S. Army successfully transmitted messages in Choctaw but the Army never developed it into a full blown code system to some degree they simply did not and would not trust a system of communications. They did not have the ability to understand. Sally McLean is the author of a recent book about the Navajo Code Talkers called Navajo weapon many Native American languages are all but impossible for non-native speakers to fully understand. MacLaine says the Marine Corps trust in the Navajo soldiers allowed them to develop a code where the army had failed.
I think the most amazing thing. Is the enormous leap of faith sown by the United States Marine Corps and using a system of communications that they had absolutely positively no way to understand or comprehend. But that's what a leap of faith is. Carl Gorman was one of 29 Navajos in the original platoon that developed the code. They came up with a dictionary of two hundred sixty seven military terms and they did it without having any words in their language for most of what they were describing. So in the quaint sense battleship and bazooka and mortar aren't exactly terms that Native Americans would coined for themselves. Those didn't exist so the requirement was that they find an accurate equivalent Carle Garmin offers one example like tanks. Call it terrible. That's all just terrible. She had to lie when you said Harold and a man on the other side.
When I understand it is Tang using words from their everyday language to represent military terms the Navajos in effect created a code within a code even if the Japanese were somehow able to translate Navajo. They'd also have to figure out what military term each word represented. But the code proved unbreakable cryptographers who tested it gave up after three days and the Navajo code talkers were sent into action in October 1942 at Quantico now. Up until then the Japanese had broken nearly all the US codes after Guadalcanal the Navajo Code Talkers went on to provide secure communications in major battles throughout the South Pacific including Okinawa and you would Jima Maclean's book sites both Japanese and American sources on the pivotal role of the code talkers in those U.S. victories. Now 87 and living on the Navajo reservation in Window Rock Arizona code talker Carl Gorman looks back on his Marine Corps service with pride and a little irony.
When I was in school. It won't let us get punished for color and you could tell that whole lot of time. Fatal if they were on it and that you know that a few of the now and then there's you know and and and cold a little and this and all of that when the next 50 years know that the public is finally ready to die that we have going to war with our language. Sally Maclean's book about the Navajo Code Talkers Navajo weapon is published by books beyond borders for National Native News I'm Sam national lead of news features are made possible by co want to Broadcast Corporation the country's first urban Native American radio station serving listeners in Alaska and throughout the nation. Today's feature on National Native news the battle to restore the remains of native Hawaiians. I'm Nelly Moore. The U.S. Congress sought to right a wrong when it
passed the Native American graves protection and repatriation act by clearly establishing the right of tribes to the remains of their ancestors. The act has made it possible for dozens of tribes to recover bones from museums across the country. But what about museums overseas. There the record is mixed. I'm speaking today with Edward Hawley a law I yell of the whole why a native organization who EMA Lama Edward told me something about your organization and the successes that you've had in recovering Hawaiian remains from foreign museums are going to function well. In 1988 to provide care and protection for ancestral Hawaiian remains and burial sites we have repatriated ancestors from 18 New Zealand and the United States. We have also been able to repatriate ancestors from international museums including the University of Zurich Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the soft Australian Museum in Adelaide and how do you compare are your successes between the foreign museums and
museums here in the United States. Well there's federal legislation that requires repatriation in the U.S. with international museums. It gets trickier because there are no international agreements at present that require repatriation so largely these are negotiated good faith agreements and the basis for our requests was an international human right to care for ancestral remains for native Hawaiians. How did they view the fact that these remains are located in museums around the world. Well it's viewed in a cultural sense of desecration because there are certain traditional values that Hawaiians live by. Even though we live in contemporary times these values apply and. One of those values is a law. And you know having that sense of caring. You know mama that sense of caring for others. But the strong values on our family that's very important in the point culture that the
family stays together even if people you know members pass away they still kept together. And so it's difficult to understand in a situation like this is that there remain those ancestor remains were taken there without the consent of any family. And so knowing values require that they be returned and reburying And so that those families can be together again number one and that the foundation the accessor foundation of the only people be strengthened. And so it's difficult for a lot of natives even comprehend the idea of foreigners coming here. Taking people away and then refusing to give them back. And so the museum that I had named earlier. We're very accepting of that request and although it took a while we were able to work out the details and we have also of course encountered museums that have basically resisted requests to return our ancestors home. And
those are museums in Western Europe including England and Germany. We are hoping that at some point. Through international networking with Native Americans with Alaska native with native people from other parts of the world that we are able to communicate more clearly and convince those foreign institutions that are holding onto our ancestors remains that that time really has come for society to mature to the point that it identifies the fun of. Right of any people is the ability to care for the whole of their race that came before them. And that at some point these scientific studies and other stuff has to end and that those people have to be allowed to return to the land of their origin for proper burial. Just as the U.S. Schools repatriate the same idea is to return them to where they're from. In that sense you know
we will continue to educate and hopefully convince these countries that that is really the right path to take in the future. We've been speaking with Edward Holly alone in Hawaii and director of the state burials program for the Department of land and natural resources for National Native news. I'm Nelly more national native news features are made possible by Cohen of Broadcast Corporation the country's first urban Native American radio station serving listeners in Alaska and throughout the nation. Our. Public. Radio. International. Today's feature on National Native news two tribal casinos install slot machines before a vote is taken to allow unrestricted gambling on Washington reservations. I'm Nelly MOORE This November Washington state voters will decide whether to allow unrestricted casino gambling on reservations initiative 651 seeks
to legalize slot machines video poker and other electronic games of chance. But for the last six months gamblers at the call villa in Spokane tribal casinos are already playing the slots as correspondent Tom Bonzi reports the tribes are using different strategies to protect their investments. On a recent Friday afternoon gamblers crowd into the Mill Bay Casino on Lake Shore land. Most head straight for the banks of slot machines. Hours later many are still there seemingly mesmerized by twirling cherries bananas and lucky seven symbols. Laura Sanderus of cashmere Washington plunked dollar tokens into two machines at a time. Sanders says she's delighted the Colville tribe installed the one armed bandit like the man. Raised in the money one way or the other. This is really nice. We used to go to Reno and here now we don't. Do you. Think for a lot of money. The tourists in the casino are not the only gamblers here. The call of wills risk the wrath of the state and federal government by installing machines that are specifically
banned by the Washington legislature. Gambling manager Roy or explains legal casino games failed to draw enough customers. This facility opened with just card games. And they were not very popular. We didn't have high stakes. Customers before we got slot machines and I don't know about 140 people were laid off. When I started in March we had just under 300 employees now we have five hundred seventy three or so slot machines proved so popular. They were also added to the lineup at the Tribal bingo hall and at a casino that just opened near Grand Coulee Dam a short distance to the east. The slot machines are also multiplying on the Spokane reservation. They first showed up last fall in the two tribal casinos but have now spread to several convenience stores a restaurant gas station and the Trading Post on the reservation. The State Gambling Commission wants the U.S. Justice Department to shut down the Colville and Spokane casinos and seize the slot machines. The
U.S. attorney for eastern Washington agreed to serve as the state's enforcer but his efforts have been stymied by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court has before it a case from California that may provide a definitive ruling regarding how much power western states have to limit tribal gaming. But while the court considers the case assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Shively says local gambling law enforcement is on hold because of those unresolved issues. There's no certainty. That. We would or could prevail on a criminal matter. And we don't want to get into any kind of open confrontations with the tribes. The Spokane tribe is a major backer of a citizens initiative that asks Washington voters whether they want to allow unrestricted gambling including slot machines on Indian lands. If it passes initiative 651 would lift the legal cloud hanging over the Spokane tribes casino and immunize against future federal lawsuits. The initiative appears on the November statewide ballot. The measure would also legitimize the Colville
tribes gambling operation. But interestingly General Manager Roy ore says the Caldwells oppose the measure. I have the advantage now. If everybody had slot machines it wouldn't have as many customers as I am now or claims his operation need slot machines to compete with gambling halls located closer to big cities. That said the Caldwells are banking on eventually victory in the courts to secure their casino profits. How much money is at stake is a closely guarded secret. The larger casinos are thought to net upwards of 10 million dollars a year according to Roy or the Colville tribes casino dividends are about to be put to work. The tribe is now finalizing their plan on the expenditures for that and it's heavily targeted towards social programs and education. One of their first targets is going to be in the school on the reservation. The Spokane tribe has said it will spend its casino profits the same way a large amounts of cash appear to be going into a political campaign as well. The state campaign watchdog agency reports the Spokane tribe donated more than $200000
to the Indian gambling citizens initiative during late spring. Of course that amount would be small change compared to the future profits passage of the gaming initiative would guarantee. I'm Tom Bhansali in Olympia Washington. National Lead of news features are made possible by a co wanted Broadcast Corporation the country's first urban Native American radio station serving listeners in Alaska and throughout the nation. International. Today's feature on National Native news a Connecticut POW I nally more this year the second annual Milford Powell was well attended but last year the first Powell was modest mostly the work of three people Tom Cruise or spoke with them last year as they prepared the event from a small but busy intersection that locals call the center of town. A visitor can see remnants of Milford's colonial past everywhere along narrow
Commons or green as it's called here. A tall white steeple of a classic 19th century Congregational Church. A small stone bridge lined with monuments honoring the Europeans who settled here in sixteen thirty nine with a closer look and a question or two. The visitor will find the name and Mark of the saved him and sent away inscribed near the doorway of a 25 foot stone tower by the bridge. You'll see the salt water inlet where and sent away as people harvested fish clams and oysters for thousands of summers and you'll discover that the river is spanned by the bridge of English monuments is called the Wepa wall which is named for one of the five tribes of the Golden Hill people from this area whose main Say Jim was on Santa Wei who was the one who traded Milford for blankets and hose and mirrors and things like that. Right over from her small two year old cultural center in a storefront across from the green Cheryl and guard Dino also known as rainbow stark relate stories of Native American Milford
to callers and visitors. The young woman of Blackfoot heritage also brings programs of culture and history to city school rooms where she says stereotypes and myths are not uncommon. The kids come up with the craziest things that are just like the old school books where all the Indians are savages and they're very mean. And we've had to have one child in one of the schools that we went to was terrified to come into the classroom because we thought the Indians were going to get them you know and so we had to like say don't be afraid of us we're not going to hurt you to elders support rainbow star's mission of education. So you get Larry gentle dear and Muskogee Creek Jane dear heart talk about their traditions with children in school and live a public life that contrasts with what they call the white back. Last year for example the two longtime Milford residents got married on the green in a ceremony that included a small fire. We had to go to the city and ask for permission for that fire pit you know because it's something sacred to us all right. And the first thing out of the man's mouth was well what are you going to do and hew and flaming
arrows. Yeah you know so I said what I think that is you know where I say I'm 67 years old she's 68 years old. We're going to go around shooting flaming arrows you know. Well I guess if they found out what I what I rage with that change things would be different but he had to come to the ceremony. This spring for the first time tried to reach thousands of people at once. A few miles up the web near the river on a blazing hot weekend in June people from two dozen native nations gathered for both private ceremonies and public displays. I wanted to do something. Where we can show the people how we are still together. A group of nations is everyone still surviving and I wanted to have something to for the children where the children are national background the goodness that native people have for the world and Mother Nature Mother Earth the rainbow star says many local people were enthusiastic about the prospect of
learning Native American ways in their hometown. She expected thousands of visitors but elders Larry gentle dear dear heart who are more skeptical about the interest of some non-natives I think on this particular first policy but I think people are a little bit curious you know what you've got to prove what's going to be all about what was going to be all about proved to me was we all about and I think the next one will be a lot better if we accept a lot of it. He's you know tops to a lot of people like Barry are the surroundings like I tend to get a big surprise. He is confident her efforts to teach people about Native American history and culture are reaching open minds. I think they're trying really hard to change your heart. The younger woman's work but she warns playfully that after living alongside the White for nearly 70 years she knows the task is a difficult one.
It's hard to feel for National Native news in Milford Connecticut. I'm Tom Cruise or national news features are made possible by Broadcast Corporation the country's first urban Native American radio station serving listeners in Alaska and throughout the nation. Today's feature on National Native news ruins of an old village and burial ground are used to construct a dam. I'm nailing more earth from an area containing an old Paiute village and burial ground has been used to construct a mile long dam in the high desert region of southeastern Oregon. The dam was part of a plan to restore wetlands and provide an oasis for migrating waterfowl and birds of prey. With the discovery of the ruined Native American cultural remains the plan has gone awry as local tribes charge negligence on the part of state and
federal agencies. And the man who owns the land the project is now in court the subject of litigation. David Blanco has this story from Portland Oregon. More than 70 Native American burial sites were destroyed or damaged during the restoration of the marsh. The project was originally billed as a model of an environmental cooperative venture between government and a private landowner. But Gordon battles culture and heritage specialist for the Klamath tribe says he found destruction instead of progress. The human remains skull fragments grow old parts of the body were placed. The burial sites were dug up and unceremoniously by scrapers and bulldozers. Placed in the dam compacted by pulverized. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was the lead agency throughout the wetlands project before any permits could be granted an agency archaeologist had to locate identify and protect any cultural sites in the
area. Tribes say this part of the process was overlooked. The landowner Oliver Spiers believed however that he was on solid legal footing and that the three hundred fifty thousand dollars he spent on the project was a good investment for the feds and the state convinced me that there was a sound project. I felt that the long term benefit you know outweighed the capital cost of the time so that's that's when I agreed to get involved. Construction began in November 1993 and was completed a few months later. Bedell says the tribe's learned of the project by accident. It wasn't. For that. A. Tribal member from the tribe came across. The. Burial site there and. That burial site was no longer there. Four months after completion of the earthen dam the tribes were formally notified of the damage at the site. State and federal agencies and tribal representatives met to try to work out a solution Bettles calls one of the early offers insulting their first suggestion was.
Let's cover it over and leave it. The way it is. You can have a ceremony were just covered over. It's an insult for all tribes to be. Asked that their ancestral remains be used as fuel. In the dirt and talks eventually broke down between the agencies and the tribes. Meanwhile the Corps of Engineers ordered Spiers to dismantle the dam. He in turn filed a lawsuit against the Corps Spiers lawsuit was just the beginning of the legal tangle. One prominent member and the Klamath tribe have each filed six and a half million dollar lawsuits against six government agencies and five private organizations. The money the tribes say would pay for sifting through the dirt of the dam and giving a proper burial to any bones that are found. Marvin Garcia former Klamath tribal chairman would like someone to take responsibility. I haven't heard anybody stand up and say well you know. We have done wrong to these people. Our activities have violated. Their human and
spiritual rights. I've never heard anybody say that word. Many of the U.S. Garcia says the problem stems from the lack of education on the part of the agencies concerning the cultural beliefs of the tribes he feels his people have been portrayed as being uncooperative. The public needs to know that. It's more than. A group of people or a nation of people. Crying about the. Laws being violated. It goes far beyond that. To us as the people that's minor to the focal point of it all is that it has a spiritual. Psychological effect and it will for a number of years. Many of the sites in the area are now flooded and tribal members are helpless to stop the continuous erosion. A federal judge in Portland will not hear these cases until later this year. I'm David Blanco national news features are made possible by a co wanted Broadcast Corporation the country's first urban Native American radio station serving listeners in Alaska and throughout the nation.
This is National Native news. Our engineer and production assistant is Kevin Smith with help from Sean Corey Campbell and Nathan Merkel. Music by Mickey Hart for the Quantock Broadcast Corporation. I'm Nelly Moore. Public. Radio. International.
National Native News Special Features
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Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
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Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (Anchorage, Alaska)
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National Native News is a nationally broadcast news series that provides news for Native and non-Native Americans from a Native American perspective.
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The first segment looks at the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. Carl Gorman, a Code Talker, and author of "Navajo Weapon" Sally McClain are profiled. Edward Halealoha Ayau of the Native Hawaiian Organization Hui Malama discusses the complications facing Native groups from reclaiming ancestral remains from international museums in the second segment. The third segment reports on the installation of slot machines in casinos on reservations prior to a vote in Washington state on Initiative 651 that would legalize such electronic gambling. The fourth segment looks at the first Milford, CT Pow Wow; which faced obstacles of racism and fears based in stereotypes prior to establishment. The last segment looks at a dam project meant to restore wetlands in Southeast Oregon that is in litigation due to neglect of ancestral land rights. The ruins of a Peyote village and burial site have been destroyed during construction according to Culture and Heritage Specialist for the Klamath tribe, Gordon Bettles.
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Associate Producer: Hamilton, D'Anne
Copyright Holder: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
Producing Organization: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
Reporter: Fugua, Sam
Reporter: Blanco, David
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Identifier: NNN08141995 (Program_Name_Data)
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Duration: 01:15:00
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Chicago: “National Native News Special Features,” 1991-08-13, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “National Native News Special Features.” 1991-08-13. Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: National Native News Special Features. Boston, MA: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from