Coming Together: The Navajo Code Talker Legacy Art Show
On May 4th, 1942 the Marine Corps recruited a platoon of 30 Navajos to develop and test the feasibility a code using the Navajo Language. This group would go through Marine Recruit training at Camp Pendleton as platoon 382 - the first “All-Indian, All-Navajo” platoon.
The “First Twenty Nine” developed a code of approximately 200 terms using the Navajo language. By the war’s end the code had grown to about 700 terms and 400+ Navajos had been recruited and trained as Code Talkers (MOS 642).
The Navajo Code remained classified until 1968 and is still the only military verbal code never to be broken.
When the war ended in 1945 the Code Talkers were given the chance to return home. Some remained in the Marine Corps serving through the occupation and even into the Korean War, others settled across the country to pursue careers in the civilian life, and many returned to Dinetah.
A few dedicated their lives to art, like my Cheii Carl Gorman, and Chester Nez - just to name a couple. They used their art to share beauty with the world. Some of it may have been healing for them, some helped open the doors for Navajo artists today to carry on traditional arts and explore new ideas and mediums in art.
Now, 74 years after the end of the war, a few of these descendants are coming together to showcase their talents and honor their elders who fought and paved the way for ours and the next generations to be free to explore these creative avenues.
The show will feature the original artwork of two Navajo Code Talkers: Chester Nez and Carl N. Gorman as well as the art of Teddy Draper III, April Kristine Tsosie, R.C. Gorman, and Michael Gorman (Additional artists may be involved)
There will be an artists' reception for this show and other artists in the gallery on Friday September 6th 2019 from 4-7pm at the Michael Gorman Gallery located at 103 E Plaza in Taos, New Mexico.
For more information you can call Michael Gorman at 505-870-8303 (cell) or 575-224-6911 (business) or email MichaelGormanGallery@gmail.com
Pictured: photo collage by Michael Gorman