Canadian WWII vet who transcribed code in Mohawk language buried in Akwesasne
Published Saturday, June 1, 2019 3:36PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 1, 2019 7:03PM EDT
The last Mohawk code talker was laid to rest on Saturday in Akwesasne, Quebec.
Louis Levi Oakes was born in Oakes was born Jan. 23, 1925, in St. Regis, Que., on the Canadian side of the Akwesasne Mohawk territory that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state.
Oakes joined the army when he was 18 and served during World War II.
His role was to use the complex Mohawk language to send encrypted messages.
Oakes earned the Congressional Silver Medal, the third-highest American military honour.
The House of Commons also honoured him.
"It put us on the map," said Teresa Oakes, his granddaughter. "Everyone is so proud of him."
Oakes' story also helped promote the Mohawk culture.
"It's a dying language," said Chief Timothy Thompson. "Our schools are trying to revive it and Levi, being the Mohawk Code Talker that he is, helped us continue that."
On Saturday, military personnel from both sides of the border paid tribute.
"Using his native language and his unique capabilities that no one else could have done helped ensure our victory," said Lieutenant Colonel John Miller.
17 people from Akwesasne served, and Oakes was the last survivor.
He will not be forgotten.
"His legeacy is going to live on for sure," said Teresa Oakes.