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Navajo Code Talkers Highlight 42nd Acorn Festival

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Tuolumne, Ca — An event celebrating Native American traditions is taking place this weekend at the Tuolumne Rancheria.

The 42nd annual Acorn Festival hosted by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians opened today and will continue through Sunday. Special guests of honor include four of the remaining Navajo Code Talkers who were heroes of the Pacific campaign against the Japanese Army in World War II. They used their native language as a code that the enemy troops could not understand during combat by transmitting information on tactics and orders over telegraphs and radios.

The four Navajo Veterans of the Marine Corp. on hand this weekend are Keith M. Little, Samuel Tso, Albert Smith and Bill H. Toledo.

?In October of ?45 after the War was over, we got discharged and were told to keep our mouth shut about what we did using the code,? says Toledo. ?The code was secret for over twenty years until they declassified it in ´68.?

There were an estimated 420 Navajo Code talkers enlisted with the Marines and only 39 are believed to still be living. A ceremony was held during the noon hour Saturday to recognize their achievements. The honorees then took time to sign autographs and speak with visitors. The four will also be at a special booth on Sunday.

Written by BJ Hansen