Samuel Tom Holiday – Navajo Code Talker

Living History Samuel Tom Holiday Navajo Code Talker

Samuel Tso Holiday-Silver Medallion

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

Despite being forbidden to speak the Navajo language at boarding schools, Samuel Holiday recognized the importance of his language and culture.

He shares stories of his service in the U.S. Marines during World War II as a testament to this power. As a Navajo Code Talker, he served in the South Pacific, transmitting and receiving messages that were never deciphered by the Japanese.

Samuel Tom Holiday Navajo Code Talker

Photo by Tom Grier/Navajo Oral History Project.

Samuel´s legacy goes beyond his military duty. He is a role model and source of inspiration for Navajo youth.

This documentary film was researched, photographed, edited and produced by students of Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) and Diné College (Tsaile, Arizona, Navajo Nation) during summer 2012.

It contains stories Samuel Tom Holiday of Kayenta, Arizona, told the students during several hours of interviews about his life.
Samuel Tom Holiday Winona

Project completed by:
Kelsey Curtis – DC
Liam Krause – WSU
Rachel Rivers – WSU
Christine Willie – DC

This documentary film is archived at the Navajo Nation MuseumNavajo Nation LibraryWinona State University Library, and Diné College Library, and will be archived at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The film is part of the Navajo Oral History project, a multi-year collaboration between the Winona State UniversityMass Communication Department and Diné College– The official Tribal College of the Navajo Nation


  1. You have the gratitude of the nation, Mr. Holiday, may you rest in peace.

  2. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there.

  3. Re: Bill, I just had the honor of meeting Mr. Holiday today while at a restaurant in Cortez, Co. He appeared to be well (at 90!), took pictures with my children and me, and signed a copy of his book which I purchasesd. He was delightful and seemed to enjoy the fanfare he was receiving from very grateful citizens.

  4. HI, My name is Bill and a few years back I was able to have the Honor of having my picture taken with Sam Holiday at our Marine Corps Ball Celebration in Dodge City. I would like to know how he is doing if you can commit on that.. Thank You Sir very much..

  5. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have
    you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.