Code Talkers of the World Wars

Bill Steward aside Pvt. Calvin Atchavit’s nephew, veteran himself, Robert Atchavit. (Photo courtesy of Bill Steward)

By Jessica Crabtree

In both World Wars, a great source of assistance came from the Native American men who willingly enlisted to serve their country. Although World War I began July 28, 1914, America kept its stance of neutrality until its entrance on April 6, 1917.

In 1917, Native Americans were not even granted citizenship, and even more, the government-run schools insisted their people not speak their native language and no longer adhere to their own culture. With several thousand men enlisting from Oklahoma and Texas, some 26 tribes were represented in the armed forces within the 36th Division.

The summer of 1918, that 36th Division arrived in France, participating in its first offensive along the western front in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign.

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