Category Archives: Military

“Levi Oakes, last WWII Mohawk Code Talker, dead at 94”

“Canadian Second World War veteran Levi Oakes, who was the last survivor of the men identified as Mohawk Code Talkers, has died. He was 94 and died at home with his family at his side, his daughter Dora said.” The Globe

Levi Oakes, from Akwesasne, receives a standing ovation after being recognized by the Speaker of the House of Commons Tuesday, December 4, 2018 in Ottawa. A. Wyld, Canadian Press

Excerpt: Levi Oakes, last WWII Mohawk Code Talker, dead at 94, The Globe

“Though born in Canada, Mr. Oakes had enlisted in the U.S. military. He became a Code Talker, one of the indigenous servicemen who used their native languages to stymie the enemy’s attempts to eavesdrop on their units’ communications.

Louis Levi Oakes registered for the U.S. Army at the age of 18.

He was one of 17 Mohawks recognized under the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008, an American law that granted Congressional Medals to First Nations and individuals who participated in those programs.

‘He bravely served in the Second World War … Thank you for your loving grace and service to our people,’ Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said in a Tweet. ‘These were immense contribution by indigenous people to the war effort,’ Liberal MP Marc Miller, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said.

“We’ve lost a hero. We’ve lost someone who selflessly served.’

Mr. Bellegard and Mr. Miller were among the people who in recent years paid tribute to Mr. Oakes. Two years ago he received the Congressional Silver Medal. Last December, he was introduced in the House of Commons, met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and was honoured at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations…

Louis Levi Oakes was born on Jan. 23, 1925, on the Canadian side of Akwesasne, the Mohawk reserve that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York State. He was the second of the five children of Angus Oakes and Mary Porke.

He left school early and, since many Akwesasne Mohawks move freely across the U.S.-Canada border, he went to work in a steel plant in Buffalo, N.Y.

In an interview with the U.S. Congress’ Veterans History Project, Mr. Oakes recalled that after the war started, he never considered serving with the Canadian army. He said that was because one of his brothers had been handcuffed and roughed up by Canadian police for failing to report for military induction… Instead, shortly after Mr. Oakes turned 19, in January 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. military. ‘I didn’t mind it, I was young,’ he said…’They found out I was a Mohawk,’ he recalled. ‘The top commander gave me a piece of paper I had to translate to Mohawk.’

That steered him towards the signal branch and a Code Talker position so that, before he boarded a troop transport in San Francisco, he took the secrecy oath that he would heed for seven decades…Following Japan’s surrender in August 1945, Mr. Oakes spent four winter months there with the occupation forces. Eventually, his unit was disbanded, he was sent back to the Philippines before shipping back to the U.S. Back home, he married Annabelle Mitchelle and they raised seven boys and three daughters.

Like many other Mohawk men, he became an ironworker, commuting to construction sites across the continent to erect the metal skeletons of bridges and skyscrapers. He said he worked on bridges in Buffalo and New York City.”

Native Veterans Honor Their Culture and Fallen Comrades

“There are few things more pride inspiring than our native brothers and sisters reclaiming our love of country. These veterans danced their way around the circle in uniform at the Lame Deer Powwow in 2018.” C. Oestreich, Pow Wows

 Click Here to see the Warriors Dance

 

 

Manataka American Indian Council

Category: Culture, Holidays, Military

In Honor of Our Natives Veterans

“Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017, but the sentiment remains. Today is Veteran’s Day, the day we take a bit of time to remember and recognize the accomplishments of veterans and in the case of Indian Country Today, place a bit of emphasis on Native American veterans…In honor of all the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. This is a blessing to you and your family on this day.” V. Schilling, ICTMN

psischiefs.org

Excerpt: For Veteran’s Day: How to Spot a Native American Veteran, Vincent Schilling, ICTMN

“You might ask, how can we identify Native Veterans in order to give them a handshake, a hug or a tip of our hat? Here are several ways to tell someone is probably a Native American veteran. Some of them lighthearted and some more serious.

We dance in the Veteran’s circle during a pow wow

Seems simple enough, but taking a moment to recognize the veterans in this circle who gave years of their lives in service to their country is respectful. Also keep in mind those veterans who are not in the circle due to disabilities, never returning home or because they are no longer with us. Blessings to you all on this Veteran’s Day.

Dance in the Veteran’s circle. Credit Vincent Schilling,

They have rank, ribbons or service branch worked into their Native regalia

Sometimes at a pow wow or other celebration, you might see a person with a partial uniform, such as combat fatigues, along with pieces or Native ornamentation, such as feathers. This person is a veteran, or a person honoring a family member who served. Please know this is a gesture of honor and not to be taken lightly. Uniforms are only worn as a gesture of remembrance and honor.

Veterans laugh at movies that show people in inaccurate uniforms

Veterans will scream out when we see someone in a movie or TV show with inaccurate rank, ribbons or name-tags. We also notice sloppily worn hats, improperly rolled up sleeves or anything else that screams, Bad movie costuming person! or ‘Lack of military adviser!’

A ​Native American veteran takes a moment to respect the flag. Photo- Vincent Schillingjpeg

We might get a little quiet during the posting of the colors

Our servicemen and women have given so much. So during these moments, it is always right to give honor and respect to those veterans who might be a bit quiet.

Category: Culture, Military