1918 to 2017: Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and Veteran’s Day

November 11, 1918
The Great War ends.


November 11, 2017
Choctaw Nation Veteran’s Day ceremony.

I may not have been at that Armistice Day in France nearly 100 years ago, but the day originally set aside to commemorate it found me at the Choctaw Nation tribal grounds in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. I wanted to thank veterans who served to protect my life and my freedoms.

  Randall K. Jake, Army and Marines.

Randall K. Jake, Army and Marines.

  Carole Ayers, Coast Guard.

Carole Ayers, Coast Guard.

Choctaws in World War I were proud Americans.

Choctaws today are proud Americans.

I want to honor past and present service men and women with my upcoming novel about the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I. This novel has taken over a year of research that included more than a dozen interviews, a stack of research books, and hundreds of archived documents.

 From L to R: Corp. Solomon Bond Louis, Mitchell Bobb, Calvin Wilson, Corp. James M. Edwards, Joseph Davenport, Capt. E.W. Horner (commanding officer)

From L to R: Corp. Solomon Bond Louis, Mitchell Bobb, Calvin Wilson, Corp. James M. Edwards, Joseph Davenport, Capt. E.W. Horner (commanding officer)

I wrote the first draft of the novel over the summer.

Am I ready to revise it? Not quite.

I have a digital stack of files leering at me from my computer every day. I have two interviews at the end of November. Washington, D.C. waits patiently in December with uncovered information in the deep pool of source material at the National Archives. And does anyone know where old copies of the Fort Worth Star Telegram are kept? I have a dozen dates to look up in them.

Is it all going to be worth it in the end to tell a story long faded from America’s conscience?

I believe it will be.

Look for the novel release in 2018, the year Americans will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of a war that changed our country and the world, a war in which we still see the impact of today.

  Choctaw Nation Veteran's Day 2017

Choctaw Nation Veteran's Day 2017

Bonus date:

November 4, 2017

Untold Stories: American Indian Code Talkers of World War I symposium and exhibit.

  Dr. Daniel Littlefield of the Sequoyah Research Center.

Dr. Daniel Littlefield of the Sequoyah Research Center.

IMG_8256.JPG

I had the privilege of traveling to the Sequoyah Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas with my mama. Boy, it would have made me sad if I'd missed this event! It was well done, from each of the speakers to the exhibit itself.

Something neat happened there. Choctaw historian Francine Locke Bray had invited me to the event. I, in turn, told Code Talker Otis Leader’s great-niece, Tewana Edwards.

We all ended up at the symposium. I introduced Ms. Francine and Ms. Tewana, surprised they didn’t know one another with all the research they both do. And there we were, connected, gathered together, talking history and preservation. 

I’m just a baby compared to the work people like they and my mama have done. I was in awe and ready to take a big step back when Ms. Tewana reached out and called me an “old soul.”

If that means I hang out with people who have archived this much history, I’ll take it. 

 Francine Locke Bray, Choctaw historian.

Francine Locke Bray, Choctaw historian.

  My mama (Lynda Kay), Tewana Edwards, and me.

My mama (Lynda Kay), Tewana Edwards, and me.