We Are All Connected
When I first started researching my family history story, (my great-uncle’s service as a Sioux Code Talker) I began to meet other code talker families and in time, forge a strong bond with them. There is a Lakota term that explains family connections with a strong feeling. According to Albert White Hat, Sr. in his book, Reading and Writing the Lakota Language, he explains that the phrase “mitakuye oyasin” is used to open and close prayers. In addition, it means a person is related to all creation…that “all are my relatives.” Mr. White Hat continues to say that the phrase reminds us that we all come from one source…and therefore we need to respect each other. (p. 46)
During my research journey, I felt such a connection to several elders whom I respect and am so grateful for their love and friendship. One is Therese Martin. Whenever I spoke with Therese, she would alway say how proud she was of our young people. (Therese is close to 100 now!) She always had a big smile when she greeted me. She worked hard all of her life and she lives her life in a joyful manner. She was a source of constant encouragement. I wish I lived closer so I could visit with her more regularly. She is so positive and very wise. Therese’s connection to the code talker’s past is that she is a fluent speaker and diligent writer of the Lakota language.
Another important person in my life is Marcella LeBeau. Marcella is a World War II veteran herself and is an avid letter writer, newspaper clipper, and quilter. She sent me regular letters along with the latest newspaper articles on the code talkers. She had a personal interest also, since her cousin was Eddie Eagle Boy, another Lakota Code Talker in the group. Like my family, Marcella did not know of Eddie’s unique and valuable service. He visited her often but never mentioned the role he had in World War II.
My bond is strong with these two women. The connection is similar to a family relationship and like I said before, I am very grateful for their love, friendship, and encouragement over the years. In my mind and heart, they are my relatives…especially when were are telling the same family history story. I know we feel the same pride in our hearts when we talk about the incredible service of the Sioux Code Talkers in World War II. We are connected in the present… as well as to the past. Mitakuye Oyasin
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