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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.

Oneida Nation (Wisconsin) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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Obverse (above)
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Oneida Nation (Wisconsin) Code Talkers Medal Reverse

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Reverse (above)
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Oneida Nation


Designer: Donna Weaver
Engraver: Charles L. Vickers

The obverse design features an Oneida Nation code talker with eagle feathers, positioned similar to those in the Oneida Gustoweh (head dress) in the background. Inscriptions are ONEIDA NATION WARRIORS and CODE TALKERS.


Designer: Donna Weaver
Engraver: Renata Gordon

The reverse design features the Great White Pine Tree of Peace with four white roots atop a turtle. To the left of the tree is the foot print of a bear. To the right of the tree is the foot print of a wolf. The turtle, bear and wolf represent the clans of the Oneida Nation. Atop the tree is an eagle, vigilant over the nation and warning members of any imminent danger. The symbols near or under the turtle are a war club and six arrows bound tightly together to indicate the unified strength of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. An image of the two-row wampum belt, constrcted of quahog beads, is at the bottom of the design. Inscriptions are WORLD WAR II, ACT OF CONGRESS 2008 and LATIWɅNATÉNYESHSE, which translates to “They change their words.”

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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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