Navajo Code Talker Day

A time to remember, catch up and share stories

WINDOW ROCK

Lupita Holiday sat next to a table displaying her dad’s – Navajo Code Talker Samuel Holiday – photos and book.

She greeted people who walked inside the little white tent and cheerfully told them about Samuel’s book “Under the Eagle: Samuel Holiday, Navajo Code Talker.”

Her tent was just one of a dozen tents other families set up during the Navajo Code Talker’s Day festivities in Window Rock.

While Lupita was proudly talking about her dad to others, Samuel, one of only 14 surviving Navajo Code Talkers, was listening to dignitaries and other speakers talk about how important their legacy is.

“Even before I knew he was a hero, he was my hero,” said Lupita about her dad. “He took good care of us. We knew he was in war and he never told us what he did. It was later on until we realized of all he had done and been a part of.”

Next to Holiday’s tent was Navajo Code Talker Kenneth Tsosie’s memorial tent. Three of his nine children were greeting visitors and talking about their father who passed in 1968.

Tsosie died before the world heard of the contribution of the Code Talkers and how the Navajo language had been used as an unbreakable code to help win World War II.

Tsosie was wounded in action June 22, 1945, in Okinawa, Japan, and received a Purple Heart. He also received the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal, UN Korean Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal – all these medals were on display in his memorial tent.

“He was a very hard worker,” said Jennie Platero, eldest daughter of Tsosie. “But was compassionate toward us. He told us make good use of our day … he was an advocate for good education.”

Platero was in high school when her father passed on and she said he told her to go to college and set an example for her younger siblings to aspire to, which she said she did, her siblings followed suit, and now they all have good jobs.

“He really valued education, if anything, that is what he instilled in us,” said Faye Tsosie Allison, Tsosie’s fourth child. “He was good at disciplining us – get up early with the sun, get the horses, there was no way to slack off.”


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Categories: News

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát’oh dine’é Táchii’nii, Bit’ahnii, Kin łichii’nii, Kiyaa’áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at abecenti@navajotimes.com.