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Colored Pencil/Graphite/Scratchboard on art board - Original Size: 18” x 24” - 2007-Personal Collection.
During World War II, most everyone has heard of the Navajo Code Talkers that helped “win the war” by confusing the enemy as they communicated artillery commands through their native language. They were recognized as heroes for their efforts and allowed the American Indians a place in history.
Not to take away from honoring the Navajos, but most people did not know (me included) that the Choctaw soldiers were Code Talkers in World War I. This illustration is my tribute to those Choctaw soldiers who served bravely and should also be recognized as heroes.
Native Americans including Choctaws were not allowed to vote until 1924 – although years before this they volunteered to fight for what they considered their country, land and people. According to tribal documents, there were 19 Choctaw Code Talkers: Otis Leader, Joseph Davenport, George Davenport, Noel Johnson, and Schlicht Billy were not included on my illustration as per my original search for names. The men listed were part of the 36th Division (“Choctaws”). Originally, only eight men were recognized as Choctaw Code Talkers, but as the success of using their native language as a “code” was recognized, others were quickly pressed into service.
Next to the list is a well-documented photo of Choctaw Code Talkers drawn in graphite. The illustration at the bottom is colored pencil and depicts the darkness of war. Using a reversal image from the black art paper on which it is drawn enhances that imagery. The final piece is my interpretation of a Medal of Honor, highlighted with the Choctaw Seal in the center of the medallion. It was created using scratchboard (scraping away black ink to expose the white surface). The Choctaw words “mali mihachi” translate to the title: “Wind Talkers”
Last modified on Monday, 06 October 2014 20:56