S6, E1, Pt1: Dr. William Meadows on “The First Code Talkers, Native American Communicators of World War I”, Part 1

We kick off our first episode of season 6 with a 5-part series on the most requested topic from my listeners – The Code Talkers.

Meet scholar and Anthropologist, Dr. William Meadows, Professor at Missouri State University who shares about the groundbreaking research detailed in his book, “The First Code Talkers, Native American Communicators of World War I”. Get ready to experience a mix of oral history, individual soldiers’ accounts and newspapers, truly bringing these heroes’ stories to life.

You can find Dr. Meadows’ book here and in many online and retail shops: http://tinyurl.com/bdfwp2kb

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • The importance and power of secure communications in military operations.
  • How code talking dumbfounded the Germans.
  • A 1919 Stars and Strips article stating attributes of Native servicemen, included being good runners, good marksmen, stoic under fire, using signals readily, their “uncanny sense of direction,” in blindfolded tests, scouting and patrol work in combat and their abilities at night.
  • The term, “Indian Scout Syndrome”.
  • Compared to the total population at the time, Native Americans volunteered at a rate nearly twice that of the rest of the American population.
  • The Easter Band of Cherokee in WWI.

Dr. Meadows set out to discover the following in his research:

  • Who were the first code talkers? Some think the Navajo, some would guess the Choctaw.
  • You may be surprised at the answer!
  • Was code talking actually classified as secret after the war?
  • What factors led to the formation of Native-language military communicators in World War I?
  • Who originated the idea to utilize the Choctaw, and how many were used in WW I?

I hope you’ll enjoy this series on our brave Native American men and women who served our country.

And yakoke for sharing your research with us, Dr. Meadows!

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