New Mexico museum honoring WWII Navajo Code Talkers $40 million shy of opening

Organizers say the New Mexico museum honoring the Navajo Code Talkers will cost about $40 million to materialize.

The state has committed $6.4 million in capital expenditure funds to the project this year, but the museum’s organizers are facing a significant financial spike before the doors open, the Santa Fe New Mexico newspaper reported Tuesday.

“We have very limited capacity,” said Regan Hawthorne, CEO of the Navajo Code Talkers Museum. “We are still in the beginning. We are still in the process of finding our identity.”

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Hawthorne’s late father, Roy Hawthorne, was a Marine who served as a code talker in the South Pacific islands from 1942 to 1945.

This complex, unbreakable cipher was developed in 1942 by an original group of 29 Navajo Marines. They were used for combat communications in Pacific operations during World War II, aiding US military superiority and victory.

Only three of the original Navajo code talkers are still alive. There is a group of 29 people called the original Code Talkers, but the 3 people who are alive today are not part of that group.

Watching the Veterans Day parade in New York City on November 11, 2009, the US Marines famous for delivering unbreakable codes during combat with the Japanese during World War II A member of an elite Navajo Code Talkers. (Tamamario/Getty Images)

The Chevron Mining Company donated over 200 acres of land in McKinley County for the Code Talkers Museum in 2009, but the project hasn’t seen much momentum since.

Regan Hawthorne said museum leaders need to finalize an agreement with the Navajo about the museum site.

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To avoid problems with the state’s no-donation clause, he said, museum leaders are working on agreements to give or sell land to tribes.

Regan Hawthorne added that turmoil over land and a lack of offices where museum organizers can meet people and ask for financial help has made fundraising difficult, he added. .


The tribe celebrates Code Talkers on August 14 each year, and has done so since 1982 when President Ronald Reagan declared the day National Navajo Code Talkers Day.

On Monday, the 25th Annual Navajo Council once again paid tribute to Code Talkers at an event held at the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock, Arizona.

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