Native American Caucus members honor Chester Nez
The last Navajo Code Talker recently passed away at 93
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Members of the Native American Caucus issued these statements regarding the passing of Chester Nez, the last surviving World War II Navajo Code Talker. Nez was 93 when he died.
Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado (District 7)
“Chester Nez was a hero for our tribe, our state, our nation and for the free world. The Navajo Code Talkers' pivotal contribution to the end of World War II was invaluable.
“Mr. Nez and his fellow warriors should be honored for their valued contributions that saved many lives and our way of life today. That is why I proposed a bill to create an annual Arizona Navajo Code Talkers' Day, which the governor signed and will be celebrated for the first time on Aug. 14.”
Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson (District 3)
“I am sad to hear of Mr. Nez’ passing, but I am grateful for his military service to this country. I am also grateful that his indigenous language played such a big role in winning the war. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to his immediate family and to the Navajo Nation.”
Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7)
“I am saddened to hear about passing of Chester Nez into the spirit world. Chester Nez was the last of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. With his passing, a chapter closes.
The story of the critical role the Code Talkers had in the United States winning World War II continues to unfold. The Navajo people and the American people owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these young Navajo men who became the Code Talkers and developed a code that was never broken.
“I join many others in expressing my sorrow on the passing of another great warrior and hero of the Navajo Nation. My condolences and prayers go to Chester Nez' family, friends and all his relations.”
Rep. Jamescita Peshlakai, D-Cameron (District 7)
“With the passing of Navajo Nation Code Talker Chester Nez the door closes on an era. From riding horses, to traveling to the moon, he witnessed and contributed to the greatest advancement of humankind the world has ever seen. Let us always remember the courage and sacrifice of our Navajo Code Talkers. I salute him and all our veterans.
“As a veteran, I am committed to fighting for a better system of providing benefits and services for those who have served our country. The overhaul of the VA is now occurring and our nation must honor these Code Talkers, as well as all veterans, in a more supportive, caring, and honorable manner befitting their sacrifice.”
Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9)
“Many thanks to Mr. Nez and the Navajo Code Talkers for their courage and contributions to our freedom. It is ironic that Mr. Nez attended an Indian Boarding School during a time that children were punished for speaking their native language and yet it was that same language that played a crucial role for U.S. communications during World War II. The Code Talkers developed a code that was impenetrable to the Japanese.
“We are indebted to Chester Nez and will pay tribute to the legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers on Aug. 14, 2014 on the first annual Arizona Navajo Code Talkers’ Day.”
The Native American Caucus would like to encourage people to get involved in the legislative process and to make sure their voices are heard. To receive a registration form for a Request to Speak System account, please email Melissa Upshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office of Rep. Hale at 602-926-4323. Once your account is created, you will receive the Request to Speak System Manual by email and you can comment on bills being heard in committees through your online access by going to www.azleg.gov and clicking the Request to Speak System link.