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Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medals Program

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On November 20, 2013, in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Government recognized 33 Native American tribes for the dedication and valor of their code talkers who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World Wars I and II. Of the tribes recognized, 25 were presented with their Congressional Gold Medals.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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Obverse (above)
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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) Code Talkers Medal Reverse

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Reverse (above)
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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
(South Dakota)


Designer: Donna Weaver
Engraver: Michael Gaudioso

The obverse design depicts a World War I soldier sitting in a trench while receiving a message over his telephone. In the lower field, a World War II soldier sits in a deciduous forest while communicating messages. Inscriptions are WAKPA WASTE OYANKE AKICITA ZUYA IYASICA, Cheyenne River Sioux language for “good river soldiers fight the enemy,” and LAKOTA CODE TALKERS.


Designer: Don Everhart
Engraver: Jim Licaretz

The reverse design features elements from the Cheyenne River Sioux flag and four tipis with buffalos imposed on them. Inscriptions are WORLD WAR I, WORLD WAR II and ACT OF CONGRESS.

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The Program

The Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 (Act) (Public Law 110-420) requires the Secretary of the Treasury to strike Congressional Medals in recognition of the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers to the U.S. Armed Services during World War I and World War II. “Code talkers” refers to those Native Americans who used their tribal languages as a means of secret communication during wartime.

Under the Act, unique gold medals are struck for each Native American tribe that had a member who served as a code talker. Silver duplicate medals are presented to the specific code talkers, their next of kin, or other personal representatives. In addition, bronze duplicates are available for sale to the public.

The Navajo Nation was awarded Congressional Gold Medals in 2001 under Public Law 106-554.

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