I purchased Navajo Code Talkers: Secret American Indian Heroes of World War II by Brynn Baker in paperback at Thriftbooks for just $2.99. We read this aloud as a family before watching the Nicolas Cage film Windtalkers.
Although the film focuses more on the non-Navajo character played by Nicolas Cage, the film does a decent job of depicting the job of a Navajo Code Talker. Side note: Nicolas Cage’s character is a soldier assigned to protect a Navajo Code Talker on the battle field. The film deals with the racism faced by the enlisted Navajo men and shows a change of heart in the most hateful of hearts. Some topics we discussed:
-Navajo Indians were willing to sign up to protect freedoms that they were not even guaranteed in the U.S.
-Did some Navajo Indians enlist for lack of better opportunities?
-Weeks after watching this film, one of my kiddos brought up the similarities between forcing the Navajo Indians to march 300 miles to their reservation without food, shoes and other resources to Hitler marching Jewish people from concentration camps until Ally Soldiers brought liberation. This has led to a rabbit hole – learning more about the Navajo Indians.
It took a lifetime to publicly honor these brave men. The information was not declassified until 1968 and no real effort to pay tribute to them was made until the early 1980’s. Even then it took until 2003 to present them with medals of honor. Here is a link to the official ceremony: https://youtu.be/-aAKWUHqrjs
Here are videos that discuss the general history of the Navajo Indians: