Date Signed: 10/26/2016 | MARADMINS Number: 567/16
MARADMINS : 567/16
261918Z OCT 16
POC/LENER J. GADEA/SGT/UNIT: MPE/-/TEL: (703)784-9371/TEL: DSN 278-9371/TEL: COMM (703)784-9371//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. November is National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage month.  This year’s theme is “Serving our Nations.”  After 100 years of efforts to recognize Native Americans and Alaska Natives, we now celebrate and recognize cultures and educate the public about their heritage, history, art, and traditions during National Native American and Alaska Natives Heritage Month.
2.  Native Americans and Alaska Natives have been, and continue to be leaders in every aspect of our society.  Today, over 26,000 Native Americans serve in the American Armed Forces, making up 1.2 percent of the military population, in close proportion with the Native population of the United States.  Additionally, according to the Department of Defense, there were 140,556 Native American veterans as of March 2014. 
3.  During World War I and World War II, hundreds of Native Americans joined the United States Armed Forces and used words from their traditional tribal languages as weapons. The United States military asked them to develop secret battle communications based on their languages in which America’s enemies were never able to decipher.  “Code Talkers,” as they came to be known after World War II, were communications specialists.  Their job was to send coded messages about troop movements, enemy positions, and other critical information on the battlefield.  Some Code Talkers translated messages into their Native languages and relayed them to another tribal member.  Others developed a special code within their languages that they used in combat to send important messages. The Navajo code talkers, mainly Marines, were commended for their skill, speed, and accuracy demonstrated throughout the war.  At the Battle of Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. These six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error. Major Connor later stated, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."
4.  Currently, there are 567 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native tribes and more than 100 state-recognized tribes across the United States.  Each has their own unique history, beliefs, governance structure and culture.  Since the arrival of European settlers in America, Native American and Alaska Natives have preserved their culture and heritage.  A new generation has assumed this charge from their elders, and they continue to serve not only their nations but the United States with dignity and honor.
5.  During the Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, commanders are encouraged to take time to increase awareness and celebrate the dedicated service and contributions of Native Americans to our country and Corps.  Commanders are further encouraged to conduct programs and promote participation in observance events in the local community.
6.  This DVIDS (Defense Video Imagery Distribution System) link provides a video presentation in celebration of the Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month: https:(slash)(slash)www.dvidshub.net/video/488658/native-american-heritage-month. For further information regarding diversity and national observances see the related links section of www.manpower.usmc.mil/marinediversity.
7.  Release authorized by Major General Michael A. Rocco, Division Director, Manpower Plans and Policy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.//