Diné College Recognizes Code Talkers

Nov 15th, 2002 | By | Category: 14-2: American Indian Higher Education Consortium 30th Anniversary, Tribal College News

Actor Roger Willie, Miss Diné College Cassandra Bitsuie, actor Adam Beach, and Diné College President Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet enjoy the reception. Photo by Ed McCombs

Diné College hosted a reception following the premiere of the movie Windtalkers in Gallup, NM, on June 13, 2002. President Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet also presented Diné College jackets and silver and turquoise bolo ties to Roger Willie and Adam Beach, the two stars of the first feature-length motion picture to address the story of the now famous Navajo Code Talkers and their role in World War II. The reception honored the Navajo Code Talkers and their families for their contributions to preserving freedom.

Before the film began, Manuelito-Kerkvliet asked the audience to join her in a moment of silence for the Navajo Code Talkers who had died defending our country. She also reminded the audience of the power of the Navajo language in defeating the Japanese during World War II. “The Navajo language played a critical role in saving countless lives and winning World War II. The secret code developed by the 29 original Code Talkers based on the Navajo language was never broken by the Japanese,” she said.

“The Navajo language is alive today at Diné College,” she continued. She pointed out that Diné College offers over 30 different courses in Navajo language and culture.

During the reception many Navajo Code Talkers along with the stars of the movie signed autographs and were interviewed by the media.

At the reception Navajo actor and former Diné College student Roger Willie was very enthusiastic about the film and its potential to bring recognition to the Code Talkers and to the Navajo people. He also told Manuelito-Kerkvliet that he would like to one day return to Diné College to teach Navajo language and culture. For more information about Diné College’s Navajo language and culture courses call (928) 724-6630.

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