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Category: Native Americans

Three Marines, all Navajo Code Talkers, pose with weapons in a World War II photo

World War II’s Navajo Code Talkers, In Their Own Words

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Some of the U.S. military's best intelligence assets during both World Wars were Native American troops who used their own, unwritten languages as the basis for coded radio messages. These Code Talkers, particularly Navajo Marines, were invaluable in the Pacific theater of World War II. Twenty-nine Navajo Code Talkers were later awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Many of these soldiers' personal stories are preserved in the LIbrary's Veterans History Project.

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

The Soldier’s Letter: The Civil War from the Western Frontier

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The Library recently acquired a rare surviving copy of the complete run of a Civil War regimental newspaper, the Soldier's Letter of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry of the American military. More than a hundred regiments on both sides of the conflict printed at least one edition of a camp newspaper, but few survive and a complete run of one paper is even harder fo find today. The four-page Soldier's Letter, staunchly against slavery and the Confederacy, ran for 50 editions between 1864 until after the war ended in 1865. Though mostly concerned with the regiment's history and daily details of camp life, the paper shows that soldiers were more concerned about warring Native American tribes than they were Confederate units, and they would eventually form a military bridge between the Civil War and the Indian Wars that followed.

Library Acquires Rare Codex from Central Mexico

Posted by: Neely Tucker

Theft, fraud, harassment, withholding of payment — courts around the world hear these charges all the time. Yet, they’re far from modern. The Library’s newly acquired San Salvador Huejotzingo Codex, for example, documents a legal proceeding from 1571 in which Indigenous Nahuatl officials in central Mexico accused their village’s Spanish administrator of these very same …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Connecting Andean Voices and Heritages

Posted by: Neely Tucker

This is a guest post by Giselle Aviles, a reference librarian in the Hispanic Reading Room of the Latin American, Caribbean and European Division. The Hispanic Reading Room has a new research guide, Interconnecting Worlds: Weaving Community Narratives, Andean Histories & the Library’s Collections. This guide, with resources in English, Spanish and Quechua, facilitates research …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Trailblazing American Women on Quarters

Posted by: Neely Tucker

This is a guest post by Maria Peña, a public relations strategist in the Library’s Office of Communications. Maya Angelou broke ground as a multifaceted author, poet, actress, recording artist and civil rights activist, while Adelina “Nina” Otero-Warren left an indelible mark in New Mexico’s suffrage movement. This year, both are among five trailblazing women …

Image of an ornate clock showing 2:05 with sculpted male figures sitting on each side of the clock face

Maya Blue and the Vessels of the Diving Gods

Posted by: Neely Tucker

The ceramics created by ancient Maya potters make for some of the most vibrantly colored objects that survive in the archaeological record of the Americas. John Hessler, curator of the Library's Kislak collection, explains how their distinctive blue color has survived for centuries.