When the Japanese attacked
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and America officially joined World
War II, "You should have seen the big long line at the places where
they recruit into the service. Everybody wanted to join the service,"
says Code Talker Joe Kellwood. "You ask me why I joined the Marines --
was kid of getting scared because [of] the way these enemies were doing
things, torture. I just let her know that I was going to get
training to meet the enemy, and that made her cry."
Code Talker Keith Little
was in the 10th
grade at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. He remembers, "I
felt that I had to enlist, I
had to do something. It was a feeling of retaliation. I think that was
underlying reason I enlisted in the Marine Corps."
he be willing to serve in the U.S. armed forces when his
people had been mistreated by the American government? "I call it
'brainwashing' in the schools – they were trying
to civilize us to be ordinary American citizens, so being patriotic was
priority," he says. "But in that Christian school we must have had the
(laughter), because they said we Indians were really the first people
"A lot of people say, 'Why did
you have to go fight for the
U.S. when they treated you so bad?' Well, they might have mistreated my
ancestors, our people, imprisoned them, but they did let us come back
land, our Mother. America was our land. Supposing the Japanese came to
mainland? They could have come to our land. Patriotism, being an
Indian, I guess that’s it. This land is where we live, where our
where our people are."