KGOU

Kiowa Tribe

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla. 4) speaking during a ceremony Nov. 20, 2013 honoring Native American Code Talkers.
Speaker of the House John Boehner / YouTube

The Cherokee Nation and Comanche Nation were among more than 30 tribes who received a Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony Wednesday to honor Native American Code Talkers.

Congress passed an act in 2008 recognizing the work of the Code Talkers who used their native language to pass messages to confuse the enemy during World Wars I and II.

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, one of only a few Native Americans in Congress, spoke during the ceremony.

texas longhorns grazing in a field
jaxx2kde / Flickr Creative Commons

For almost 150 years, the Kiowa Tribe has used Longhorn Mountain for ceremonies and to gather the cedar used to purify their homes. But tribal leaders say the sacred site is being threatened by gravel mining.

Two of the mountain’s five private landowners have leased water and property rights to Cushing-based Material Service of Oklahoma, Inc. Kristi Eaton reports with the Associated Press reports:

Courtesy Warren Queton

Longhorn Mountain is an important place to Kiowas, not just because they’ve been going there to pray since being in Oklahoma, it’s in the way that they pray using the sacrament they believe is unique to that mountain, cedar.  And now, its habitat is in danger.