Hopis have a long history of serving in the U.S. military. My dad is part of that important history. In the 1970s, he followed in the footsteps of his uncles and joined the Navy. He was stationed on the aircraft carrier the USS Constellation (CV-64) and traveled way beyond the Hopi mesas to places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Persian Gulf.
After listening to his stories of life aboard the Connie, I also wanted to be in the Navy. As a kid I used to dress up in my dad’s Navy clothes and I even wore his “dog tags” to school! The movie “Top Gun” was a big hit in our home. I also remember hanging out at the Navy recruiter office in Flagstaff, Arizona, just to look at the pamphlets and posters on the walls.
Although my desire to join the Navy ended in high school, I’ve always had great respect for those who have served in the U.S. military.
Today I blog about Hopis in the military as a way to announce a special event about American Indian involvement in the Navy. The gathering will take place on August 7 at the Navy Operational Support Center in Phoenix, Arizona. More information can be found below.
Many thanks to Robert A. Flores, Museum Project Coordinator of the Arizona Capitol Museum, for letting me know about this event.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
Ladies and Gentlemen,
You are cordially invited on Sunday, August 7, 2011, to the Navy Operational Support Center, Phoenix, Arizona. Rear Admiral Sanders United States Navy will speak concerning the important impact of Native Americans currently serving in today’s Navy. The Navy’s impact on the Native American Community and local economy, the Navy’s engagement with American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), as well as the Navy’s commitment, and opportunities in education, leadership, meaningful service, travel, and other areas of significance.
The Admiral would like to address and speak with Native American Elders, Leaders and Native American Youths on Sunday, August 7, at the Naval Facility located on 35th Avenue of the I-10 freeway.
When: Sunday, August 7, 2011
Time: 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Where: Naval Reserve Center 1201 N. 35th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85009. Located on the Southside of the I-10 freeway, 35th Ave. exit, Exit 141 south, the facility is on the eastside of 35th Ave. To enter the facility, after you take the 35th Ave exit, Exit 141, go south to W Roosevelt Street and turn east toward on W Roosevelt Street towards 34th Ave and turn north on 34th Ave. At the end of 34th Ave, you will see the entrance to the Naval Facility.
To view the facility map, click on the link below or copy and paste it to your browser (It is the facility (1) above/north of Falcon Park on the satellite map),
The point of contact for this event is Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Ray Fryberger U.S.N. (602) 353-3001 or you may contact me.
Please pass this email invitation to others that you feel may be interested in attending.
Robert A. Flores
Museum Project Coordinator
Arizona Capitol Museum
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 W. Washington St. Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 926-3827 (Direct)
(602) 515-6373 (Cell)
Kevin Taylor wrote a very moving article in the latest edition of Indian Country Today about Hopi soldier and mother Lori Piestewa and Jessica Lynch. Earlier this month, Lynch traveled to the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Idaho to honor Piestewa at a gathering for Native veterans. Lynch talked at length about her admiration for Piestewa, and highlighted the Hopi soldier’s bravery and courage. I hope everyone who visits my blog will take the time to read this story. Here are the first two paragraphs:
The route leading to this longtime campsite amid the pines on the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho includes several miles of gravel road swooping through hilly farm country. Green with crops, it looks nothing like Iraq, but still gave Jessica Lynch a moment of flashback. “It was the dust,” Lynch says.
A car ahead of the one bearing Lynch to Talmaks Camp on Monday morning kicked up a cloud of dust that carried her back to March of 2003, when she was a 19-year-old supply clerk and private first-class in the U.S. Army driving a truck in the enormous military convoy racing across the desert to Baghdad during the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces. “All you were seeing was dust and sand and you had to follow the person in front of you by their taillights,” Lynch recalls. “We were exhausted and tired and hungry… ”
To access the complete article, please visit the following website: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/07/america%E2%80%99s-most-famous-pow-jessica-lynch-honors-the-hopi-woman-who-saved-her-life/
For the past few months one of the most pressing Hopi-related issues on my mind has been the proposed Hopi Constitution Draft 24A. However, there are other important happenings out at Hopi that I want to highlight on this blog. Yesterday, the Arizona Capitol Times reported that “During Indian Nation and Tribes Legislative Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously to endorse a resolution that would formally honor the 10 members of the Hopi Tribe who served as code talkers.” And one day earlier on January 20, 2011, Louella Nahsonhoya, Public Information Officer of the Hopi Tribe, released the following statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2011
The State Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee vote unanimously to endorse SCR1009 which will formally acknowledge and honor 10 Hopi Code Talkers
KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. – On Jan. 11, the Hopi Tribal Council passed Resolution H-024-2011, authored by Eugene Talas, Director of Hopi Veterans Affairs and endorsed by Hopi Vice Chairman Herman G. Honanie to formally recognize Rex Pooyouma and Orville Wadsworth as additional Hopi Code Talkers. The resolution passed unanimously by a vote of 12-0.
Previously, the Hopi Council passed Resolution H-039-2007 acknowledging and recognizing the following men as Hopi Code Talkers during WWII: Franklin Shupla, Warren Koiyaquaptewa, Frank Chapella, Travis Yaiva, Charles Lomakema, Percival Navenma, Perry Honanie Sr., and Floyd Dann, Sr., all who were assigned to the 323rd Infantry Regiment of the 81st Infantry Division, known as the “Wildcat Division”.
In early Sep. 2010, the Director of the Office of Hopi Veterans Services was notified that Mr. Rex Pooyouma was identified by the U.S. Army Center of Military Studies as a ninth Hopi Code Talker and in Oct., 2010, the Office of Hopi Veterans Services was provided with military documentation citing Mr. Orville Wadsworth as a Hopi Code Talker. Mr. Wadsworth’s name was submitted to the U.S. Army Center of Military Studies for validation and shortly after Veterans Day 2010, Mr. Wadsworth was confirmed as the tenth Hopi Code Talker.
During World War II, Mr. Rex Pooyouma was assigned to the 380th Bombardment Group and Mr. Orville Wadsworth assigned to the 90th Bombardment Group, with the Fifth Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force, U.S. Army Air Force. Both were selected and trained as part of a secret Native American Code Talker communications network to transmit secret-coded messages using their Hopi Lavayii in the Pacific campaign.
On Jan. 18, during the 16th Annual Indian Nations and Tribal Legislation Day at the State Capitol, Senator Jack Jackson, Jr. (D), sponsored and introduced SCR1009, to the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee to formally honor and recognize the Hopi Code Talkers and their contributions to this Country and the State of Arizona. SCR 1009 would also encourage schools to teach about the contributions of the Hopi and other Native American code talkers.
In a packed standing-room only crowd, heartfelt and emotional testimonies were heard from Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa, Hopi Veterans Affairs Director Eugene Talas and family members of the Hopi Code Talkers.
“These Hopi men were humble and did not talk about what they did in combat. A cleansing ceremony is performed to purify them before they return to their homes in the villages. They did not share their stories with anyone and lived the rest of their lives with memories only they knew about”, said Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa. “All Hopi code talkers are now deceased and we feel it is important that the state of Arizona and this great nation of ours know the history of what our people did for this country”
Veterans Affairs Director Eugene Talas said, “The Hopi people are very humble and don’t expect any glory or recognition, but for the most part they are supportive that we are finally recognizing the Hopi code talkers”.
The Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted unanimously to endorse a resolution which would formally acknowledge and honor the 10 Hopi Code Talkers. All Senators expressed their thanks to family members of the Hopi Code Talkers and acknowledged support from everyone.
Later that same day at the Joint Protocol Session on the Senate Floor, Chairman Shingoitewa was a featured speaker and spoke of hard economic times on the Hopi Reservation.
“Hopis believe our ways of lives have sustained us this long” said Chairman Shingoitewa. “Oraibi on the Hopi Reservation is the oldest continuously inhabited village on this continent, since 900AD. Economically we may be poor, but we are rich in culture. We are not a gaming Tribe, but we have natural resources on our land which we want to develop. We want to start working with the State Government to develop partnerships. We have the best coal in the country that is clean and efficient and want to support you in renewable energy. We are looking at a rail spur and invite you to help us. We need to start respecting and trusting one another, this can only result in a win-win situation”.
The day was a day of celebration for all Hopis, and as Maxine Wadsworth daughter of Orville Wadsworth tearfully said, “this helps bring closure for us”.
Hopi Tribal Council has recommended the design and purchase of a new bronze plaque to add Mr. Pooyouma and Mr. Wadsworth as Hopi Code Talkers to be displayed at the Hopi Veterans Memorial Center monument. (A bronze plaque was previously dedicated on Nov.11, 2009 with names of 8 Hopi Code Talkers)
Hopi Code Talkers:
Perry Honani Sr
Floyd Dann Sr.
For more information, contact Eugene “Geno” Talas at the Hopi Veterans Affairs Office at 928-737-1834 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.