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Tribal Holiday Celebrates Navajo Code Talkers

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) -- Navajo Nation government employees will have the day off Friday in celebration of the Navajo Code Talkers.

The actual tribal holiday is Saturday. The Tribal Council designated the day a holiday in 2006, more than two decades after President Ronald Reagan recognized the Code Talkers and named a day in honor of them.

The Code Talkers were an elite group of Navajo Marines who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language.

Some of the surviving members plan to gather in Gallup, N.M., to celebrate.

Several hundred Navajos served as Code Talkers during the war, but a group of 29 developed the code based on their native language. Their role in the war wasn't declassified until 1968.

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