May 272011

After years of discussions, Arizona has officially honored the Hopi Code Talkers.

During a recent ceremony at the Hopi Veterans’ Memorial Center, families of the 10 Hopi Code Talkers were recognized and honored for their service during World War II in the United States Army and the United States Army Air Corps.

The Hopi Code Talkers were Franklin Shupla, Warren Koiyaquaptewa, Frank Chapella, Travis Yaiva, Charles Lomakema, Percival Navenma, Perry Honani Sr. and Floyd Dann Sr., U.S. Army; and Rex Pooyouma and Orville Wadsworth, U.S. Army Air Corps.

Bruce Talawyma, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, emceed the ceremony, during which Army veteran Clifford Qotsaquahu, Navy veteran VaNiesha Honani, great-granddaughter of Code Talker Perry Honani Sr., Hopi Tribal Vice Chairman Herman Honanie and Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa provided opening remarks.

Shingoitewa said the ceremony culminated years of work by many tribal members and should be seen as a celebration for the entire tribe.

“The Hopi people have a proud history of service to the United States, from World War II, to the Korean Conflict, to Viet Nam and to the War on Terror,” Shingoitewa said. “These men are true heroes, and the Hopi Tribe could not be more proud of their accomplishments and contributions.”

Guest speakers were John Dudas, VSD, northern regional manager, Arizona Department of Veteran’s Services, Sen. Jack Jackson Jr., D-Window Rock, and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

The Hopi Tribal Council worked with members of the Arizona Legislature, including Jackson, and the State Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to gain unanimous passage of a resolution formally acknowledging and honoring the 10 Hopi Code Talkers’ contributions to the United States and Arizona. The resolution also encourages schools to teach about the contributions of the Hopi and other Native American code talkers.

Jackson sponsored and introduced the resolution, SCR 1009, during the 16th annual Indian Nations and Tribal Legislation Day held at the state capitol during the recently completed legislative session.

The Hopi Tribal Council has also recommended the design and purchase of a new bronze plaque to add Rex Pooyouma and Orville Wadsworth as Hopi Code Talkers to be displayed at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center monument. A bronze plaque was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2009, with names of eight Hopi Code Talkers. The two additional Code Talkers were discovered in 2010.