Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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Native Words, Native Warriors

National Museum of the American Indian
Cortina Productions

Native Words, Native Warriors tells the story of the Native American communications specialists (later called “code talkers”) who transmitted secret military messages in their Native languages during World Wars I and II. In addition to the code talkers’ wartime experiences, the site explores the diversity and cultural importance of Native American languages, the impact of boarding schools on language and culture survival, the strong tradition of honoring veterans in Native communities, and the long-delayed formal recognition of the code talkers’ achievements. Native Words, Native Warriors is offered in both Flash and HTML, and includes a lesson plan (targeted for middle school students), interactive learning elements, and additional educational resources. The website also addresses national social studies and history learning standards. The story is told using text, audio narration, code talker audio quotes, music, maps, and images of many historic photographs, documents, and objects. The Education Office of the National Museum of the American Indian is committed to reaching a national audience of educators and students with its materials. Current offerings include print as well as electronic and web formats. The web format was chosen for Native Words, Native Warriors in order to ensure wide access to an education experience based on a well-known and important Native American story. Native Words, Native Warriors supports a traveling Smithsonian exhibition of the same name, but also functions independently.

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