Washington, D.C. - Rep. Bruce Braley and Sen. Chuck Grassley helped congratulate the Meskwaki Tribe as they accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of their ancestors who served as Native American Code Talkers during World War I and World War II.
"The Code Talkers who served during World War I and World II performed a remarkable job that no one else could. They were sent to war as young boys where their unbreakable code saved thousands of lives as they deceived our enemies time after time. They returned home as quiet heroes, sworn to secrecy and unable to discuss their experience with even their closest family," Braley said.
The ceremony in the U.S. Capitol featured representatives of the Meskwaki visiting from Iowa, mostly Tama County. The Meskwaki Nation was among 33 tribes from 11 states honored for their code talker service. The code talkers used their native languages to communicate key military intelligence during wartime, befuddling U.S. enemies who couldn't interpret the language. Their service is credited with saving lives.
Sen. Chuck Grassley helped to honor members of the Meskwaki Nation at a congressional gold medal ceremony honoring the Native American code talkers who served the United States in military conflicts including World Wars I and II.
Rep. Braley shows Larry Lasley Sr. and Theresa Mahoney of the Sac & Fox Tribe Skyler Papakee's Artwork in the Capitol.
"The ceremony was long overdue but the recognition was heartfelt," Grassley said. "All of us are grateful for the contribution of the Meskwaki members and others who used their language in service to our country. The code talkers saved lives. They used something unique to them to help preserve the United States from sworn enemies," Grassley said.
The Native American Code Talkers were honored as part of the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 for their service during World War I and World War II. Grassley co-sponsored legislation, enacted into law in 2008, that authorized Congress to present gold medals to the Native Americans who served as code talkers during foreign conflicts in which the United States was involved during the 20th century.
As members of the Armed Forces, they misled the enemy by transmitting secret messages using their native tribal language. The Congressional Gold Medal represents Congress' highest expression of appreciation for distinguished achievement and contributions.
The following individuals were either in attendance or invited to attend ceremony: Mrs. Theresa Lynne Mahoney, Descendant of Honoree Benson, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Robert John Roberts, Descendant of Honoree Roberts, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Ramona Norma Sanache, Descendant of Honoree F. Sanache, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Alvin Lee Sanache, Descendant of Honoree W. Sanache, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Melissa Rose Youngbear; Descendant of Honoree M. Wabaunasee, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Marguerite Youngbear Bass, Descendant of Honoree Youngbear, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Larry Craig Lasley Sr., Representative, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Robin Lee Roberts, Representative, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Ramakrishna Dhanwada, Representative, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Beatrice Youngbear, Tribal Council Member, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki; Shirlene Fawn Seymour, Descendant of Honoree Twin, Winnebago; Daniel Ray Wabaunasee, Descendant of Honoree Judie Wabaunasee, Sac and Fox/Meskwaki.