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Navajo Code Talkers to Appear at DNC

New America Media / Navajo Times, News Report, Cindy Yurth Posted: Aug 22, 2008

Editor's Note: Navajo Code Talkers will present the colors as the Democratic National Convention opens Monday, but several Code Talkers will be absent, writes Cindy Yurth, Tsyi Bureau reporter for the Navajo Times. Yurth is among 10 ethnic media journalists reporting from the DNC for New America Media.

CHINLE Some Navajo Code Talkers will present the colors as the Democratic National Convention opens Monday, Code Talker Thomas H. Begay confirmed Thursday.

However, he wont be among them.

Begay, who sent coded messages based on the Navajo language at Iwo Jima during World War II, said he only heard about the invitation from the convention organizers last week, much too late to get a hotel room in Denver. The city is expecting about 50,000 conventioneers and media types between next Monday, when the convention starts, and Thursday, when it ends.

I think only a few of the Code Talkers will be going, Begay said. I guess Im not in the clique.

Begay said the invitation was extended to the Navajo Code Talkers Association, but not all of the surviving Code Talkers are members of the association or have close ties to it, so hes not sure the word has trickled down to all of them. He said he doesnt know when the association received the invitation.

The associations president, Keith Little, didnt return a phone call Thursday.

Begay added that the convention overlaps with a reunion of Iwo Jima survivors Aug. 27-31 in Washington, D.C., and hed rather save his money and go to that.

I want to see my old buddies from all over, he said.

Among the Navajo delegates to the convention are President Joe Shirley Jr., Arizona statehouse candidate Christopher Clark Deschene and Jack C. Jackson.

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