Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medals Program: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (South Dakota)

Medals-Code Talkers

Background

The Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 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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Characteristics

Obverse

The obverse design depicts a World War I soldier sitting in a trench while receiving a message over his telephone. In the lower field, two World War II soldiers sit in a deciduous forest while communicating messages.

Reverse

The reverse design features elements from the Cheyenne River Sioux flag and four tipis with buffalos imposed on them.

Obverse Inscriptions

  • WAKPA WASTE OYANKE AKICITA ZUYA IYASICA (Cheyenne River Sioux language for “good river soldiers fight the enemy.”)
  • LAKOTA CODE TALKERS

Reverse Inscriptions

  • WORLD WAR I
  • WORLD WAR II
  • ACT OF CONGRESS

Mint and Mint Mark

Artist Information

Obverse Reverse
  • Sculptor: Jim Licaretz, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Don Everhart, Sculptor-Engraver
Content last reviewed June 1, 2016

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