Home Wisconsin Gov Evers signs Senate Bill 633 designating the Ho-Chunk World War II...

Gov Evers signs Senate Bill 633 designating the Ho-Chunk World War II Code Talkers Memorial Highway

(Photo: Gov. Evers via X)

Gov. Tony Evers signed Senate Bill 633, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 216 on Monday, designating the “Ho-Chunk World War II Code Talkers Memorial Highway.” The governor was joined by Ho-Chunk Nation President John Greendeer, bill authors, local officials, citizens of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and members of the community at a bill signing ceremony in Baraboo.

“Over the last five years, we have been proud to work together with Indigenous communities and leaders to bolster Native language and cultural preservation efforts, and this has been critical to our ongoing work to strengthen our government-to-government relationships with the Native Nations,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “Signing this bill today is a continuation of those efforts, and this designation will cement the incredible history of the Ho-Chunk code talkers in our collective narrative and highlight these individuals’ important contributions for folks, families, and visitors to learn about.”

According to the National Museum of the American Indian, during World Wars I and II, Native Americans from across the country and more than 20 Native Nations were enlisted to perform the incredible task of using their Indigenous languages to communicate sensitive wartime information. Often working in pairs, code talkers would relay and receive messages in highly dangerous situations as radiomen would be targeted by enemy fire to limit the transmission of information. 

“This is a significant moment not only for the 14 Ho-Chunk code talkers we are recognizing today but for future generations to learn more about what these exceptional individuals did to influence the course of history using the language we have worked so hard to preserve,” said Ho-Chunk President Greendeer.

“The preservation of our Native language is something we are committed to seeing continued, and it is wonderful to celebrate this effort in this way,” added Representative Kristin WhiteEagle, District II Ho-Chunk Nation Legislator.