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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.

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux) Tribe (South Dakota) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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Obverse (above)
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Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux) Tribe (South Dakota) Code Talkers Medal Reverse

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Reverse (above)
High-resolution reverse

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux) Tribe
(South Dakota)


Designer: Frank Morris
Engraver: Phebe Hemphill

The obverse design depicts a soldier being shielded by an eagle to keep him safe. Inscriptions are SISSETON WAHPETON SIOUX and DAKOTA CODE TALKERS. “Dakota” is the dialect used by the tribe.


Designer: Don Everhart
Engraver: Jim Licaretz

The reverse design features a variation of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe seal. The central part of the design depicts the boundaries of the reservation with seven tipis, which represent the seven districts within the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of Lake Traverse Reservation. Inscriptions are PACIFIC THEATRE, WORLD WAR II, LAKE TRAVERSE RESERVATION and ACT OF CONGRESS 2008.

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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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