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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, 33 tribes were recognized for the dedication and valor of Native American code talkers to the U.S. Armed Services during World Wars I and II. Of the tribes recognized, 25 were presented with their Congressional Gold Medals.

Oglala Sioux Tribe (South Dakota) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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

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Reverse (above)
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Oglala Sioux Tribe
(South Dakota)


Designer: Michael Gaudioso
Engraver: Michael Gaudioso

The obverse design features a code talker with a stylized eagle in the background. Inscriptions are OGLALA and LAKOTA AKICITA IYESKA WICASA, which translates to “Indian soldier translator man.”


Designer: Don Everhart
Engraver: Jim Licaretz

The reverse design features a variation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe flag. The nine tipis represent the nine districts of Oglala—Porcupine, Wakpamni, Medicine Root, Pass Creek, Eagle Nest, White Clay, PR Village, La Creek and Wounded Knee—all of which are inscribed along the border of the design. Other inscriptions are WORLD WAR II, ACT OF CONGRESS, 2008 and AKICITA, OKOLAKICIYE, which translates to “warrior’s society.”

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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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