Monday, December 28, 2015


I'm not done with my 2015 Native American Heritage Month reading yet, but I'm getting closer, and there are some things I noticed about the last book, in terms of how previous reading and watching builds together.

The book I just finished was Code Talker by Chester Nez, with Judith Schiess Avila, and it was excellent. It was also enriched by other things.

For example, for the 2014 month (which ended up being all videos), I watched "Code of Honor" on the Comanche Code Talkers. Nez was a Navajo Code Talker. I had not previously realized that there were multiple programs, but it turns out that Choctaw, Cherokee, Lakota, Meskwaki, and even Basque (not a Native American language) were used at different times and places.

One thing I saw in the video was that it said they completed their basic training in less time than usual because of their time in boarding schools, where many of the practices were kind of military in nature.

In the book, they didn't finish early, but they did really well with their basic training. Nez attributed that to their home life herding ship, which involved a lot of running, climbing, throwing, and camping. One being true doesn't make the other untrue.

I recently read a book on PTSD, The Evil Hours. Therefore, when Nez was released from service and spent a few months in the veteran's hospital before release, and no one calls it PTSD (not until the Vietnam era), but he is having trouble sleeping and is haunted, it was not surprising. It also makes sense that the way it manifested sounded more similar to the Civil War era cases than the Vietnam era cases, because this was not someone who would have watched a lot of television previously. He was more haunted by apparitions of the dead than by flashbacks. And, despite my frustrations with Dave Grossman and On Killing, that it was a community ritual that helped him recover made perfect sense.

There were two other incidents covered in the book that were specific to the Navajo, and some things a little different about that where they will get their own post.

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