WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Navajo Code Talkers Foundation and President Ben Shelly recently announced the generous contributions from Peabody Energy and Coconino County in the amount of $11,000 to support the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center. Two checks were hand-delivered by Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler, District 5, in the amount of $5,000 and $6,000 was donated by Peabody Energy, represented by G. Brad Brown, Group.
"I understand the importance of the Navajo language," said Brown. "This is seed money and we will continue to support it," said Walter Begay, Tribal/Government Relations Manager.
Fowler shared why this project was so important to her.
"I come from a veterans family, my son is a Marine and I am proud to contribute through Coconino County," said Fowler.
Navajo Code Talkers Keith Little, president of the Foundation, Frank Chee Willetto, vice president, and Samuel Tso, board member, graciously accepted the contributions.
"We are very grateful for the support of President Ben Shelly and the contributions of Peabody and Coconino County to help build our center on Navajoland," said Little. "The Navajo language is sacred to us and we're trying to raise money to tell the true story of the Navajo Code Talkers through our state of the art museum. We need help from everyone, no matter what the amount is."
Wynette Arviso, Administration and Management of the Foundation, unveiled five conceptual building designs.
"We have $22 million in the pipeline and we need $24 million more," said Arviso. "Education and preservation are the heart of the museum and the Veterans Center is not only for the Navajo Code Talkers but all Armed Forces Veterans, current servicemen and women, and their families," said Arviso.
President Ben Shelly and First Lady Martha Shelly hosted the special ceremony in the Nation's State Room to continue their support and honor the legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers.
"We have always supported the Navajo Code Talkers and without them a lot of us wouldn't be here today," President Shelly said. "We must respect and remember their story and their heroic actions during World War II. This project is so important to our people and national history and we need more contributions to complete this historic monument.The Navajo Code Talkers are in the process of building the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center, a highly visible and attractive educational and community Center that will be developed on Navajo Code Talker land, a few miles east of Window Rock.
"Ultimately, the final design for the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center may contain elements from each of the top five submittals," Little said as he proudly showcased the selected conceptual drawings.
The National Navajo Museum and Veterans Center will provide a museum with an immersive learning environment, featuring interactive exhibits and activities, living demonstrations of the Navajo code and culture, displays on World War II military history, and classrooms for educational seminars and programs.
The Veterans Center component is envisioned as a community center and a place for veterans from all services and wars to be able to gather and to access all services available to veterans in one place. The construction and dedication of the National Navajo Museum and Veterans Center will take place over the next several years. Contributions are being accepted and further information is available at www.navajocodetalkers.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (928) 688-5202.