Here‘s the entire story from the Associated Press:
A banner with feathers from the Veteran Warrior Society of the Flathead Nation is draped over the flag and cremains during a burial ceremony at Fort Harrison last summer in Helena, Mont. (Clare Becker/Helena Indpendent Record)
HELENA (AP) – The Montana Historical Society is scheduling the Smithsonian Institution’s “Native Words, Native Warriors” exhibit to tour the state’s American Indian reservations.
“This is a rare opportunity to honor Montana’s Indian veterans, and all veterans, as well as to honor the important work of retaining native languages,” said Society Director Richard Sims.
The Smithsonian created the exhibit to tell the story of Indian Marines and soldiers who used their coded native languages as a weapon against U.S. enemies.
The Navajo code talkers during World War II have received the most recognition, but the exhibit shows that Native Americans were first enlisted to relay messages in their own languages during World War I.
Marines and soldiers from 16 tribal nations served as code talkers, including the Assiniboine, Sioux, Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee, Chippewa and Cree.
The exhibit also addresses the irony the Indians faced as they transitioned from Indian boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking their native languages, to being honored for using that language as a vital secret weapon in combat.
Montana has the opportunity to bring the exhibit to the state because the historical society is an affiliate of the Smithsonian.
Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees member George Horse Capture of Great Falls initiated the exhibit when he was a Smithsonian curator, and will serve as guest curator of the Montana exhibit.
The historical society plans to launch the exhibit in Helena in April and then take it to the state’s reservations. The society is also working with tribal veterans’ representatives and tribal councils who want to contribute in their own way in honoring and celebrating their warriors during each four-day event.
The society is seeking sponsors to help cover the $35,000 to $40,000 cost for creating and presenting the traveling exhibit.