After a quick stop at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center in Lawton, Oklahoma, we discovered a little-known fact about the contribution that members of this tribe made to the success of the ally efforts during World War II.
The Native Americans of Oklahoma were the first American Indian code talkers during both World Wars. Needing a more secure form of communications during World War I, the U.S. trained some Choctaw soldiers in communications after an American army officer overheard Choctaw soldiers speaking in their native language. Their coded language led to major sucesses in battles that contributed to the end of the war.
Because Hitler knew about the success of the WWI codetalkers, he sent a team of people to America to learn Native American languages before the outbreak of WWII. However, the many languages and dialects proved too difficult for them, but the U.S. decided not to use a large-scale code talker program due to Hitler’s efforts. Fourteen Comanche code talkers took part in the Invasion of Normandy, continuing to serve in further operations. They compiled a vocabulary of over 100 codes using words or phrases in their native language.
|Comanche Code Talkers of the 4th Signal Company|
While we were at the museum, we learned to speak some of the code words used by the Comanche Code Talkers:
- Tank: wakaree, meaning “turtle”, because the tank was green and moved slowly like a turtle
- Machine Gun: tʉtsahkʉnaʔ tawoʔi – “sewing machine gun”
- Germans: Taa wohonʉʉ – “our enemy”
- Adolf Hitler: Poʔsa taiboo – “crazy white man”
In fact, on the Comanche Museum website, you can learn to speak Comanche through the talking dictionary. You can also print out a coloring book and explore the site to find out more information regarding the Comanche people.
|Seal of the Comanche Nation|
The Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center is open to the public free of charge Monday – Friday 8am-5pm and Saturday 10am-2pm. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth the visit!