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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.

Tlingit Tribe (Alaska) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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Obverse (above)
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Tlingit Tribe (Alaska) Code Talkers Medal Reverse

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Reverse (above)
High-resolution reverse

Tlingit Tribe


Designer: Susan Gamble
Engraver: Joseph Menna

On the obverse design, the antenna on the soldier’s equipment is raised as he talks on his radio sending a coded message. The soldier kneels on his right knee and holds his rifle in his left hand in case of attack. The three semicircles signify the transmission of radio signals. It is inscribed TLINGIT WARRIORS CODE TALKERS.


Designer: Susan Gamble
Engraver: Renata Gordon

The reverse design depicts a killer whale headdress representing the Tlingit code talkers of World War II who were affiliated with the Killer Whale Clan. Inscriptions are WORLD WAR II, KILLER WHALE CLAN and ACT OF CONGRESS 2008.

Note: Move your mouse over the images of the coin to zoom in on its detail.

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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