Published June 19, 2017
SHIPROCK, NEW MEXICO – Navajo Transitional Energy Company, LLC (NTEC), a business entity of the Navajo Nation, is sponsoring a special engagement of a documentary film “The Heart of a Warrior,” a film about Navajo Code Talker Samuel Sandoval. The showing is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Phil Thomas Performing Arts in Shiprock on June 21.
“We are honored to assist Code Talker Samuel Sandoval with the viewing of the documentary about his life and his service to our country. The Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental in aiding America with a victory in the Pacific Theater in World War II. We’re honored to help tell the story of one of America’s true heroes,” said NTEC CEO Clark Moseley.
Sandoval and his wife Malula said they have been wanting to show the documentary in Shiprock since the film was released in 2012. The video was produced by Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The idea for the documentary came after Samuel was a guest speaker at the college in 2012.
In addition, Samuel Sandoval, 93, is from Shiprock and is the last living Code Talker in Shiprock. So the engagement is special for Sandoval and his wife. This is will be the first time the documentary will be shown to a large audience in his hometown.
“We want to have his legacy remembered for future generations,” said Malula Sandavol, Samuel’s wife.
Samuel said he remembers how the Navajo language was encoded as to not use English terminology so the Japanese couldn’t figure out what the communications were for the United States.
“There are a lot of words that don’t fit in the Navajo language,” he said. One example he used were different ships, like an aircraft carrier or torpedo ships that don’t have words in the Navajo language. The same complexities existed for the names of countries.
“There was a struggle in making (the code) because we were using terms that weren’t in everyday Navajo language,” Samuel said.
Aside from talking about his military life as a Code Talker, Samuel said he worried about the future of the Navajo language.
“I’m always concerned about the Navajo language in the youngsters. It’s their language,” he said.
As a result, he hopes that the showing of his documentary will inspire the younger Navajo people to take pride in their language.
While he wants his story to be a source of inspiration, one lingering memory still sits with the 93-year-old Code Talker about his father.
Since the Code Talkers deeds were classified until 1968, Samuel’s father passed away before he could tell him about his role in winning World War II.
“I never got to tell him what I did. He knew I was in the Marines, but he never knew what I did,” Samuel said.
Copies of the video are planned to be sold on the night of the showing and proceeds will go toward the Johnson Community College Scholarship Fund.