Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medals Program: Tlingit Tribe (Alaska)

Medals-Code Talkers

Background

The Program

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

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.

Reverse

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.

Obverse Inscriptions

  • TLINGIT WARRIORS CODE TALKERS

Reverse Inscriptions

  • WORLD WAR II
  • KILLER WHALE CLAN
  • ACT OF CONGRESS 2008

Mint and Mint Mark

Artist Information

Obverse
  • Sculptor: Joseph Menna, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Susan Gamble
Reverse
  • Sculptor: Renata Gordon, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Susan Gamble
Content last reviewed June 1, 2016

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