WINSLOW, Ariz. — One of the highlights of Arizona State Parks weekend celebration March 25 was that the Hopi Code Talkers were honored, one of 23 events in northern Arizona related to the 60th anniversary of Arizona State Parks.
The Homolovi event was opened by Dr. Dawn Collins, chief of resources for Arizona State Parks.
The Hopi Code Talker presentation, given by Park Ranger Ken Evans II, was held at Homolovi State Park. This particular park is sustained by the cooperation and support of the Hopi Tribe and the city of Winslow.
Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, was in attendance and gave the opening Hopi prayer.
The park area is also an ancestral home of Hopi. The first Native Americans to serve as Code Talkers were Choctaw soldiers serving in 1898 during the Spanish American War. Navajo soldiers served as Code Talkers in WWII and are often recognized for their sacrifices.
Evans pointed out that Hopis also served as Code Talkers during WWII. Ten of them were recognized March 25 at Homolovi State Park.
The ten honored soldiers include: Sgt. Rex Pooyouma “Sekkungyumtewa” Hotevilla Village; Cpl. Orville Wadsworth “Dawahoynewa” Shungopavi Village; Tech 5 Franklin Shupla “Awiino” Tewa Village; Pfc. Charles T. Lomakema “Tawayawma” Shungopavi Village; Pfc. Floyd Dann, SR “Lomahuytiwa” Moencopi Village; Pfc. Perry Honanie, SR “Wupatawa” Shungopavi Village; Pfc. Frank C. Chapella “Tuukwavi” Tewa Village; Pfc. Travis S. Yaiva “Sikyawistiwa” Bacavi Village; Pfc. Warren R. Kooyaquaptewa “Shuute” Tewa Village; Pvt. Percival Navenma “Masahoyniwa” Mishungnovi Village.
Units served by Hopi Code Talkers in WWII: 81st Infantry Division of the Pacific Theater during WWII “The Wildcat Division,” United States Army Air Force Fifth Air Force Fifth Bomber Command 90th Bombardment Group “The Jolly Rogers” 380th Bombardment Group “The Flying Circus”
One of the reasons Hopi Code Talkers are relatively unknown is because Hopis do not usually speak about the dead. Their traditions say that the spirits of the dead are disturbed from peaceful rest when the living talk about them.
The U.S. Government recognizes Code Talkers. On Nov. 20, 2013, the United States Government officially honored and bestowed Congressional Native American Code Talkers Gold Medals to over 30 tribes.