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Decoding History at the Marias Museum

(Anne James)

It’s strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden to speak my Native language at school. Later my country asked me to. My language helped win the war and that makes me very proud. Very proud.”

Charles Chibitty’s words are the first you read in the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian’s traveling exhibit “Native Words, Native Warriors” which is on display through July 30th at the Marias Museum of History and Art in Shelby.

Mr. Chibitty, a member of the Comanche tribe,  joined the U.S. Army during World War II and was one of fourteen Comanche code-talkers who took part in the invasion of Normandy.  Through a series of printed panels and a video, this exhibit recounts how American Indians from several tribes contributed to America’s success in both WWI and WWII by thwarting enemy efforts to intercept allied messages on the battlefield.

The exhibit is located in the Marias Museum’s annex next to the Shelby swimming pool. Hours are 1-5pm and 7-9pm Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 1-4pm.

This Sunday the museum’s board of directors will host an open house from 1-5pm, with an ice cream social at 3 pm.

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