We all know about the WW2 Navajo “code talkers” and little is said about other Native Americans that were part of the “code talker” tradition….
We lost the last Mohawk code talker from World War Two…..
Louis Levi Oakes, the last Mohawk code talker — using the language to encode messages for Allied forces during the Second World War — died Tuesday at age 94.
The veteran was one of 17 Mohawks from Akwesasne, which straddles the Quebec, Ontario and New York state borders, who received code-talker training while stationed in Louisiana.
Kanien’kéha, the Mohawk language, was one of 33 Indigenous languages used during the war to send encoded messages between Allied forces so enemies could not understand what was being said
At 18, Oakes enlisted in the U.S. army and served for six years as a technician fourth grade with Company B of the 442nd Signal Battalion. He served as code talker in the South Pacific, New Guinea and the Philippines.
The Code Talkers Recognition Act was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008, requiring the secretary of the Treasury to strike Congressional Medals in recognition of the dedication and valour of Indigenous code talkers to the U.S. Armed Services during World War I and World War II.
His contributions to Allied forces efforts were also recognized by the House of Commons and Assembly of First Nations in December.
“I only knew Levi for a very short period of time, but he meant a tremendous amount to me,” said Marc Miller, parliamentary secretary to Canada’s minister of Crown-Indigenous relations. “I can only imagine what he meant to his family and his people who had the privilege of knowing him for far longer.
“Due to the secrecy of his mission in WW II, the extent of his contributions as a Mohawk code talker have only recently been known and honoured. My hope is that we continue to honour his memory and contributions in death much longer than we did in life.”
Oakes’s funeral takes place on Saturday in Akwesasne.
We say good-bye to a hero and wish him well in the next life….and THANK YOU.