Library speaker

Laura Tohe will discuss the Navajo Code Talkers March 18.

The Library Friends of Payson hosts Laura Tohe Monday, March 18.

Tohe is presenting the program “Armed with Our Language, We Went to War: The Navajo Code Talkers.”

During World War II, a select group of young Navajo men enlisted in the Marines with a unique weapon.

Using the Navajo language, they devised a secret code that the enemy never deciphered.

For more than 40 years, a cloak of secrecy hung over the code talkers’ service until the code was declassified and Presidents Reagan, Bush, and the Navajo Nation finally honored them for their military contributions in the South Pacific.

The code talkers’ cultural background, how the code was devised and used, photos, and how the Navajo spiritual beliefs were used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) form this presentation.

This program is made possible by Arizona Humanities.

Tohe holds a doctorate in Indigenous American Literature. An award-winning poet, she is “Navajo Poet Laureate” for 2015-2019.

She is professor emerita with distinction in Indigenous Literature at Arizona State University.

Tohe has written several books and will bring “Code Talker Stories” (an oral history).

She will be signing the book, and it will be available for $20.

The presentation, which is held in the library meeting room, will start with a short business meeting at 10 a.m., and the program begins at 10:30 a.m.

The public is invited to both the business meeting and the free one-hour program. A special invitation is extended to students who will be on spring break.

If you have any questions, call the library at 928-474-9260.

Follow LFOP on Facebook at or the Library Friends’ website

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