Tlingit Code Talkers feted in Alaska for World War II role

Published: Mar. 27, 2019 at 6:56 AM AKDT
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Five long-deceased Alaska Native servicemen are being hailed by the state for their life-saving efforts during World War II.

Alaska lawmakers this month passed a formal citation honoring the Tlingit men for using their Native language to help the military outsmart the Japanese with codes they couldn't break.

The men's more famous peers, the Navajo Code Talkers, have long been recognized for their service.

But the Tlingit Code Talkers' work was unknown until recent years.

In 2013, they were recognized by Congress and posthumously awarded silver medals. A Congressional Gold Medal also was given to the Tlingit tribe.

Rosita Worl leads a nonprofit aimed at preserving and enhancing the cultures of southeast Alaska tribes. She says the men's work was a stark contrast to their younger days, when their language was suppressed by missionaries and teachers.