Hear the Untold Story of a Canadian Code Talker from World War II | Short Film Showcase

During World War II, Charles “Checker” Tomkins fought the enemy with a different kind of weapon. As a code talker in the Canadian military, he used his knowledge of the native Cree language to help develop a top-secret communication system to defeat the Germans.
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The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the web and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.

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Tomkins worked closely with the U.S. Air Force and his coded messages were vital to the success of their combat missions. Sworn to secrecy, he did not speak about his efforts until more than fifty years later after being approached by the Smithsonian Institute. Tomkin’s brother and friend remember his story in this poetic short film by Alexandra Lazarowich (https://www.instagram.com/alexalexlaza/).

Learn more about Cree Code Talker and follow the film on Facebook.

Hear the Untold Story of a Canadian Code Talker from World War II | Short Film Showcase

National Geographic


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  1. Did you know there was a special unit dedicated to creating a unbreakable code based on the Cree language during WWII? How has Checker's story added to or altered your knowledge of WWII and the Canadian code talkers?

  2. I’m a Cree Indian from northern Canada, this story warms my heart, and knowing I can speak the language today as a younger person makes me even more proud to be indigenous! I just watched this today and I have the most utmost respect to those native men who fought for us. Kinanâskomitinawaw kâkinaw ininiwak

  3. So neither government has acknowledged the code talkers. Why? Because this story is fake. Dumb Indians

  4. Why can't they recognise these code talkers & treat them with the respect they deserve. I'm part Native American & this makes me mad that they can't recognise these brave men!

  5. Nat. Geo., you should SERIOUSLY consider changing your outro. At least the music, if nothing else. You put out such nice content, often relaxing and/or heartwarming. Then, once the credits are over, you blow out my speakers and flip the mood the film just set on its head. Who makes these decisions?

    With that said, thank you for all of the beneficial, educational content. It's no small task to keep the production machine running.

  6. This was very interesting. Thank you National Geographics for sharing this. Some of us would never have known. I love documentaries and stories of WWII.

  7. 😳 This is very similar to the use of Navaho speakers by the US military in the Second World War. There is so much ignorance of the treatment of indigenous peoples in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere.

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