Joe Vandever – Navajo Code Talker

Navajo Code Talker Joe Vandever

Navajo Oral History Project

Joe Vandever - Navajo Code Talker

Photo by Elisenda Xifra Reverter

Joe Vandever Sr. lives in Haystack, New Mexico. After growing up near Grants, New Mexico, he was recruited into the 297th Platoon of the United States Marine Corps.

Joe Vandever - Navajo Code Talker

Photo by Elisenda Xifra Reverter

Joe was enlisted as a Navajo Code Talker, traveled on 16 different ships and saw action on several South Pacific islands during World War II. Returning from the war, Joe served the Diné people as a medicine man, practicing his spiritual rituals and beliefs that he still holds closely today.

Project completed by:

The project team working on a documentary film about Joe’s life includes Shannon Bolte and Joel Farber from Winona State University, and James McKenzie and Shawn Tsosie, Diné College students.

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 Joe Vandever Sr. of Haystack, New Mexico, told the students during several hours of interviews about his life.

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