Friday, July 22, 2005

No More Talking in Code

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving member of the Comanche code talkers from WWII, passed away on Wednesday, July 20, in Tulsa. He was 83 years old.

Unlike the more famous Navajo code talkers who worked in the Pacific theater, and about whom a motion picture was made, the Comanche code talkers served in the European Theater.

The results were similar. With the Japanese and the Germans unfamiliar with the native tongues of these two tribes, messages encrypted from the language of the Comanche and Navajo communicators confronted the enemy with undecipherable messages. Their contribution to the success of the allied war effort in both theatres has been recognized and honored.

According to the Associated Press, which reported Chibitty's obituary, he described his most frightening experience as the landing on Normandy Beach. The troops were deposited in deeper water than was anticipated. Many of them drowned before reaching shore. Chibitty also commented on the irony that he had been forbidden to speak Comanche as a child in school and yet was asked to as ana adult and was able to use his language to promote victory for the United States in Europe.

All Americans should salute the noble code talkers of Navajo and Comanche. They served with distinction, despite the many prior indignities that they had been subjected to as Europeans moved West across North America.

Thank you for reading Tribal Artery, the blogletter from Aboriginals: Art of the First Person. As collectors and sellers of art work from the Native American cultures, we have a special respect for them and believe it is important to share their stories with you.

By the way, you are invited and we welcome your comments on this or any other blogletters from us.

1 comment:

Marjorie Carberry said...

I read with great interest your article on Charles Chibitty. I have a steer skull painted black and completely covered in tourquise. On the bill of sale the man I bought it from wrote that it was made by Charles Chibitty. He mentioned that he was his wife's grandfather and had been honored by the United States. Is it possible that this skull really was made by Charles Chibitty? Is this an art form he was know to use? I know he was a great dancer but can find no mention of other artistic endeavers.