Code Talker

How does the author show cultural differences between white men and Navajos?


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When Ned talks about his days at school prior to the war, the reader sees the kind of discrimination many of these students had to face. Due to the conflicts between the Indians and the American military, there was a lot of misunderstanding about Indian culture. For this reason, many whites labored under the misconceptions that Indians were savages who could not be taught. Ned faces this misconception head on when he arrives at the boarding school and is told that he cannot speak his own language or indulge in any of his cultural traditions. Ned witnesses some discrimination in the military when commanders refuse to use the Navajo Code Talkers because they do not believe their code will work or they do not trust that the Navajo are sending the correct code. When his service with the Marines is over, Ned also experiences discrimination when he learns that the military benefits that will provide homes for white soldiers will not allow new housing built on Indian Reservations.