Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Code Talkers

Discussion at last Wednesday’s Centennial Committee meeting brought up the reminder that Native American code talkers were used during World War I.  While recent recognition has come to the code talkers of the Second World War, those of the First have come very close to being forgotten.

The BBC News Magazine posted this story about Choctaw code talkers in 2014:

While there is almost certainly more to be said about the code talkers–the Cherokee language was used during the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918–we’ll encourage the posting of additional information about them from the Great War.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.


  1. Adrienne Dunavin

    Thanks for this post, Blair! I thought you might be interested in this Facebook page on Native American Soldiers in WW1:

  2. Blair Tarr

    Thanks Adrienne–we’ll make use of that link as we go along.

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