Text: H.R.4544 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 110-420 (10/15/2008)
[110th Congress Public Law 420]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
CODE TALKERS RECOGNITION ACT OF 2008
[[Page 122 STAT. 4774]]
Public Law 110-420
To require the issuance of medals to recognize the dedication and valor
of Native American code talkers. <<NOTE: Oct. 15, 2008 - [H.R. 4544]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Code
Talkers Recognition Act of 2008. Armed Forces. 31 USC 5111 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Code Talkers Recognition Act of
SEC. 2. PURPOSE.
The purpose of this Act is to require the issuance of medals to
express the sense of the Congress that--
(1) the service of Native American code talkers to the
United States deserves immediate recognition for dedication and
(2) honoring Native American code talkers is long overdue.
SEC. 3. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) When the United States entered World War I, Native
Americans were not accorded the status of citizens of the United
(2) Without regard to that lack of citizenship, members of
Indian tribes and nations enlisted in the Armed Forces to fight
on behalf of the United States.
(3) The first reported use of Native American code talkers
was on October 17, 1918.
(4) Because the language used by the Choctaw code talkers in
the transmission of information was not based on a European
language or on a mathematical progression, the Germans were
unable to understand any of the transmissions.
(5) This use of Native American code talkers was the first
time in modern warfare that such a transmission of messages in a
native language was used for the purpose of confusing an enemy.
(6) On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, and the Congress declared war the following day.
(7) The Federal Government called on the Comanche Nation to
support the military effort during World War II by recruiting
and enlisting Comanche men to serve in the Army to develop a
secret code based on the Comanche language.
(8) The United States Army recruited approximately 50 Native
Americans for special native language communication assignments.
[[Page 122 STAT. 4775]]
(9) The United States Marine Corps recruited several hundred
Navajos for duty in the Pacific region.
(10) During World War II, the United States employed Native
American code talkers who developed secret means of
communication based on native languages and were critical to
winning the war.
(11) To the frustration of the enemies of the United States,
the code developed by the Native American code talkers proved to
be unbreakable and was used extensively throughout the European
(12) In 2001, the Congress and President Bush honored Navajo
code talkers with congressional gold medals for the
contributions of the code talkers to the United States Armed
Forces as radio operators during World War II.
(13) The heroic and dramatic contributions of Native
American code talkers were instrumental in driving back Axis
forces across the Pacific during World War II.
(14) The Congress should provide to all Native American code
talkers the recognition the code talkers deserve for the
contributions of the code talkers to United States victories in
World War I and World War II.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) Code talker.--The term ``code talker'' means a Native
(A) served in the Armed Forces during a foreign
conflict in which the United States was involved; and
(B) transmitted (encoded and translated) secret
coded messages for tactical military operations during
World War I and World War II using their native tribal
language (non-spontaneous communications)
(2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary
of the Treasury.
SEC. 5. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDALS.
(a) Award Authorization.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of
gold medals of appropriate design in recognition of the service of
Native American code talkers during World War I and World War II.
(b) Identification of Recipients.--The Secretary, in consultation
with the Secretary of Defense and the tribes, shall--
(1) determine the identity, to the maximum extent
practicable, of each Native American tribe that had a member of
that tribe serve as a Native American code talker, with the
exception of the Navajo Nation;
(2) include the name of each Native American tribe
identified under subparagraph (A) on a list; and
(3) provide the list, and any updates to the list, to the
Smithsonian Institution for maintenance under section 5(c)(2).
(c) Design and Striking of Medals.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall strike the gold medals
awarded under subsection (a) with appropriate emblems, devices,
and inscriptions, as determined by the Secretary.
[[Page 122 STAT. 4776]]
(2) Designs of medals emblematic of tribal affiliation and
participation.--The design of a gold medal under paragraph (1)
shall be emblematic of the participation of the code talkers of
each recognized tribe.
(3) Treatment.--Each medal struck pursuant to this
subsection shall be considered to be a national medal for
purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.
(d) Action by Smithsonian Institution.--The Smithsonian
(1) shall accept and maintain such gold medals, and such
silver duplicates of those medals, as recognized tribes elect to
send to the Smithsonian Institution;
(2) shall maintain the list developed under section 6(1) of
the names of Native American code talkers of each recognized
(3) is encouraged to create a standing exhibit for Native
American code talkers or Native American veterans.
SEC. 6. NATIVE AMERICAN CODE TALKERS.
The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the
(1) with respect to tribes recognized as of the date of the
enactment of this Act --
(A) determine the identity, to the maximum extent
practicable, of each Native American code talker of each
recognized tribe with the exception of the Navajo
(B) include the name of each Native American code
talker identified under subparagraph (A) on a list, to
be organized by recognized tribe; and
(C) provide the list, and any updates to the list,
to the Smithsonian Institution for maintenance under
(2) in the future, determine whether any Indian tribe that
is not a recognized as of the date of the enactment of this Act,
should be eligible to receive a gold medal under this Act; and
(3) with consultation from the tribes listed in following
subsection, examine the following specific tribes to determine
the existence of Code Talkers:
(B) Chippewa and Oneida.
(L) Sac and Fox.
SEC. 7. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
(a) Silver Duplicate Medals.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary shall strike duplicates in
silver of the gold medals struck under section 5(b), to be
awarded in accordance with paragraph (2).
[[Page 122 STAT. 4777]]
(2) Eligibility for award.--
(A) In general.--A Native American shall be eligible
to be awarded a silver duplicate medal struck under
paragraph (1) in recognition of the service of Native
American code talkers of the recognized tribe of the
Native American, if the Native American served in the
Armed Forces as a code talker in any foreign conflict in
which the United States was involved during the 20th
(B) Death of code talker.--In the event of the death
of a Native American code talker who had not been
awarded a silver duplicate medal under this subsection,
the Secretary may award a silver duplicate medal to the
next of kin or other personal representative of the
Native American code talker.
(C) Determination.--Eligibility for an award under
this subsection shall be determined by the Secretary in
accordance with section 6.
(b) Bronze Duplicate Medals.--The Secretary may strike and sell
duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck pursuant to section 4
under such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, at a price
sufficient to cover the cost thereof, including labor, materials, dies,
use of machinery, and overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold and
SEC. 8. AUTHORITY TO USE FUND AMOUNTS; PROCEEDS OF SALE.
(a) Authority to Use Fund Amounts.--There are authorized to be
charged against the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund such
amounts as may be necessary to pay for the cost of the medals struck
pursuant to this Act.
(b) Proceeds of Sale.--Amounts received from the sale of duplicate
bronze medals authorized under section 7(b) shall be deposited into the
United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
Approved October 15, 2008.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4544:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 154 (2008):
Sept. 23, 25, considered and passed House.
Sept. 30, considered and passed Senate.