Thursday, July 28, 2005

Last of WWII Comache Code Talkers Dies

Last of WWII Comanche Code Talkers Dies Associated Press  |  July 22, 2005OKLAHOMA CITY - Charles Chibitty, the last survivor of the Comanche code talkers who used their native language to transmit messages for the Allies in Europe during World War II, has died. He was 83.

Chibitty, who had been residing at a Tulsa nursing home, died Wednesday, said Cathy Flynn, administrative assistant in the Comanche Nation tribal chairman's office.

The group of Comanche Indians from the Lawton area were selected for special duty in the U.S. Army to provide the Allies with a language that the Germans could not decipher. Like the larger group of Navajo Indians who performed a similar service in the Pacific theater, the Comanches were dubbed "code talkers."

"It's strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden to speak my native language at school," Chibitty said in 2002. "Later my country asked me to. My language helped win the war and that makes me very proud. Very proud. "

In a 1998 story for The Oklahoman, Chibitty recalled being at Normandy on D-Day, and said someone once asked him what he was afraid of most and if he feared dying.

"No. That was something we had already accepted," he said.

"But we landed in deeper water than anticipated. A lot of boys drowned. That's what I was afraid of."

"I wonder what the hell Hitler thought when he heard those strange voices," he once told a gathering.

Chibitty was born Nov. 20, 1921, near Medicine Park and attended high school at Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kan. He enlisted in 1941.

In 1999, Chibitty received the Knowlton Award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding intelligence work, during a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

"We could never do it again," Chibitty told Oklahoma Today. "It's all electronic and video in war now."


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Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Canyon Skywalk

  The Canyon Skywalk By Glen Meek
Contact 13 Posted: July 4, 2005

It is one of the great natural wonders of the world -- and it will soon to be joined by an engineering marvel.

A fantastic glass bridge arcing 60-feet out over the grand canyon -- giving visitors an unobstructed view 4000-feet straight down.

Sheri Yellowhawk, tribal executive says "That's gonna be a scary view. It's gonna be exciting. It's gonna be a once in a lifetime view.

It may be scarey indeed having nothing more than sheets of glass separating you from eternity.

But the bridge has been engineered to withstand 100-mile per hour winds, magnitude 8 earthquakes -- and hold the weight of 71-jumbo jetliners.

The glass bridge -- officially called the canyon skywalk -- been under construction for months here on the west rim of the grand canyon.

It's being built on Hualapai tribal lands -- and the tribe hopes it will become one of the biggest attractions in the southwest.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year and when it's up and running, the hualapai expect as many as 3-million people a year will come here -- and take a walk out over the edge.

The idea for the skywalk came from las vegas tour operator David Jin, and its It has taken nearly a decade to turn his dream into a reality.

But not everyone was sold on the idea at first.

There were elders -- and others -- concerned about any construction on pristine native lands.

Tribal Executive Sheri Yellowhawk says "We had the area blessed. We had the elders come out and they talked about it and they said We would like to keep our land the way it is, but we have to look at the future of our kids, to have something that's economiocally feasable for their future

The financial future of the Hualapai is tied to tourism. They are not a gaming tribe.

But they are betting that -- when it comes to the skywalk -- if they build it -- you will come