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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.

Santee Sioux Nation (Nebraska) Code Talkers Medal Obverse

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Obverse (above)
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Santee Sioux Nation (Nebraska) Code Talkers Medal Reverse

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Reverse (above)
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Santee Sioux Nation


Designer: Frank Morris
Engraver: Phebe Hemphill

The obverse design depicts a Santee Sioux code talker looking up and focusing on the task required. The barbed wire is a symbol of the threat to the soldier. Inscriptions are MDEWAKANTON, WAKPEKUTE and SANTEE DAKOTA SIOUX CODE TALKERS. According to the Santee Sioux Tribe, “Mdewakanton” translates to “dwellers at spirit lake” and “wakpekute” to “shooters amongst the leaves.”


Designer: Charles L. Vickers
Engraver: Charles L. Vickers

The reverse design features the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Seal. Inscriptions are “ROSEBUD SIOUX TRIBE,� “WWII� 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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