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Hear the Untold Story of a Canadian Code Talker from World War II

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. 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.

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

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world 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. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.