Beatien Yazz, Diné (Navajo), 1946, Watercolor on paper, SAR.1983-12-150. Photograph by Addison Doty, Copyright 2020 School for Advanced Research.
Story by IARC collections assistant Molly Winslow.
For our In the Vaults series and in honor of Veterans Day, we would love to share with you the work of acclaimed Diné (Navajo) painter, Beatien Yazz.
This watercolor, painted in 1946 on spiral notebook paper, shows a Marine in uniform kneeling to hug his daughter. Yazz himself served as a Marine and Code Talker during World War II. During both World Wars the United States military relied on codes based in Native American languages to keep communications secret from enemy forces. By the end of World War II, over 400 men from Navajo Nation were trained as Marine Corps Code Talkers. Other branches recruited members of Assiniboine, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Choctaw, Comanche, Cree, Crow, Hopi, Kiowa, Menominee, Meskwaki, Mississauga, Muscogee, Osage, Pawnee, Sac and Fox, Seminole, and Sioux Tribes to also serve as Code Talkers during both World Wars. Their codes were never broken and their hard work and bravery saved thousands of American and allied lives.
Native Americans have participated in every major U.S. military encounter since the Revolutionary War. Since 9/11 almost 19% of Native Americans have served in the armed forces, higher than any other demographic. This year on Veterans Day we wish to acknowledge and honor the thousands of American Indians, Kanaka Maoli, and Alaska Natives who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and thank all veterans for their service.
Please visit our eMuseum to see other works by Beatien Yazz.