Last Navajo code talker dies


When I heard the news that Chester Nez, the last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers, had died, I happened to be driving through the reservation listening to KTNN radio out of Window Rock, Ariz.

The station features some reporting in English, a lot of news in Navajo and mix of music, including Native American music.

Anyway, it was a fitting way to remember Nez’ passing. The story of the code talkers is remarkable. And if you’ve ever heard something familiar broadcast in Navajo — say the news or a Phoenix Suns basketball game — you get a feel for what the Japanese military must have been up against trying to understand the code talkers.

For example, this means “Let’s go see what’s behind that mesa” — Ti’ níléí dah’azká biláahdi hat’íí hóló.

Here’s a fine story on Chester Nez. It is worth a read this morning.

And here’s a link to the radio station in Window Rock.

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