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Sally McClain Collection of Navajo Code Talker Interviews

Identifier: MSS-1106-BC

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of audio interviews conducted with nine Navajo Code Talkers (and the widow of Jimmy Gleason) by author Sally McClain as part of the research for her book Navajo Weapon, published in 1994. The original sixteen audio cassette tapes have been reformatted to CDs for researcher use.


  • 1990 - 1992

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

In World War II, the United States military developed diverse programs to recruit bilingual Native Americans to employ their tribal languages as Code Talkers to transmit coded, tactical messages. The Marine Corps recruited the first group of 29 Diné men in 1942 and sent them from the Navajo Nation to San Diego, California for training. There the Code Talkers created a secret military code based on Diné Bizaad, the language of the Navajo people. During the war, approximately 400 Diné men served as Navajo Code Talkers. Navajo Code Talkers participated in nearly every major Marine operation in the Pacific Theater and were essential to victory in battles such as Iwo Jima. After the war, the story of the Navajo Code Talkers remained secret for more than two decades; the program was not declassified until 1968. In 2001, the Navajo Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold and Silver Medals.


1 Box : 24 CDs.

Language of Materials


Processing Information

Original audio cassette tapes are shelved on B3.
Finding Aid of the Sally McClain Collection of Navajo Code Talker Interviews
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131