Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Levi Oakes, Code Talker, receives surprise visit from Quebec MP

 

Marc Miller presented Levi Oakes with a symbolic medal of honor to recognize Mr. Oakes heroic efforts in WWII as a Code Talker.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, Quebec Liberal MP Marc Miller made a surprise visit to Levi Oakes at his home in Tsi Snaihne. Miller was the first to speak in our Mohawk language in the House of Commons. According to research provided by the Library of Parliament, it was the first time the Mohawk language had been spoken in either of Canada's houses of Parliament since Confederation. Miller is a non-Indigenous anglophone from the Montreal community in the House of Commons serving Montreal and surrounding area.

Miller was in Akwesasne meeting with MCA representatives on Cannabis. Miller stated he was impressed with the sophistication of MCA's preparedness. While here, Miller took the opportunity to meet Levi Oakes in person. Miller heard about Levi Oakes and his heroic efforts as a Code Talker in WWII. He felt compelled to meet and honor Mr. Oakes in person.

He arrived with the singular goal of meeting a true hero; entering Oakes' home with just one assistant: no cameramen, no reporters, save the hometown Indian Time.

Miller presented Mr. Oakes with a symbolic medal to recognize his efforts and he read Levi a letter in the Mohawk language, which made Levi's eyes light up showing he understood every word Miller said.

Miller stated, "It was a personal honor to meet Levi Oakes. The role of the Code Talkers in WWII has long been an interest of mine and I wanted the Government of Canada to recognize Mr. Oakes. The spirit and success of the Code Talkers was hidden for so long."

He added, "Even before entering politics I have always been fascinated with languages, learning Swedish as an adult, but there is such richness to Mohawk and it is very difficult to learn."

Miller speaks English, French, and Swedish and is now learning Mohawk, recognizing the role language plays in the identity of one culture and its survival.

While Levi shared a few war stories with Miller, we were all surprised to hear Levi had just recently received an official letter from the U. S. Department of Defense stating he was free to share what actually happened in WWII. Before that, no one, including his family, had any idea the role he had during the war.

 

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