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Navajo Code Talkers to sign books at exhibit


October 27, 2009

“Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes: The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II,” the largest, most comprehensive exhibition on the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, is on display at the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at Arizona State University through Nov. 13.

Two Code Talkers will sign books based on the exhibition at a reception at the Labriola Center, located in Hayden Library, from 4 to 6 p.m., Nov. 5.

This exhibit traces the story of the famed United States Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers. It begins with the original pilot group of 29 volunteers, who in 1942, developed and tested the original Navajo code.

Proven fast and accurate, the Marine Corps implemented the code and recruited nearly 400 more Navajos who sent and received encrypted messages throughout the Pacific island-hopping campaign. The ingenuity of the Navajo Code Talkers baffled Japanese cryptographers and greatly helped in the effort to win the war in the Pacific. 

This exhibit is a tribute to these men. Originally done as an oral history project by students at Wingate High School in New Mexico, this exhibit speaks volumes of the pride young Navajos have for their heroes. 

This traveling exhibit displays more than 33 historic photographs with text; facsimiles of original, military WWII documents; a c.1940 map of the Navajo Reservation; and the (now de-classified) Navajo Code itself.

In addition, the full-length documentary “Navajo Code Talkers,” produced by the A&E/History Channel, will be running throughout open gallery hours for additional enrichment to the exhibition.

The Southwest Inaugural Tour of “Our Fathers, Our Grandfathers, Our Heroes: The Navajo Code Talker of World War II” has been made possible with grants from the New Mexico Humanities Council, the Arizona Humanities Council, PNM, APS and the Navajo Generating Station/Salt River Project.

This traveling exhibition is produced and circulated by the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, Gallup, N.M. Call (505) 726-8030 or e-mail travelexhibits@yahoo.com for more infomation.

For additional information, contact Joyce Martin at (480) 965-0298 or joyce.martin@asu.edu. The Labriola Web site is http://lib.asu.edu/labriola.