Spencerport resident/teacher launches history book

By on April 17, 2017
Local author/educator Andrea M. Page, seated at left, signs copies of her book, Sioux Code Talkers of World War II, during a book launch event held April 8 in Spencerport. K. Gabalski photo

Local author/educator Andrea M. Page, seated at left, signs copies of her book, Sioux Code Talkers of World War II, during a book launch event held April 8 in Spencerport. K. Gabalski photo

It took more than two decades of meticulous, challenging research and writing, but the first history book written by Andrea M. Page of Spencerport, Sioux Code Talkers of World War II, was published recently by Pelican Publishing Company.

Page wrote the book to share the story of her great uncle, John Bear King, who was a Sioux Code Talker. Seven Sioux Code Talkers served in the 302nd Reconnaissance Troop (known as the Lakota Code Talkers) during World War II, putting their lives in danger by crossing enemy lines to relay classified information in their native languages.

Many people are familiar with the Navajo Code Talkers, but the Lakota Code Talkers are not as well known. They used their native Lakota, Dakota and Nakota dialects to send coded messages under General MacArthur in the Pacific theater.

The book, which took 20 years to research and document, details the inspiring personal histories of the Sioux Code Talkers who played a critical role in the war. It includes Sioux history, culture and documents for the first time details of the outstanding military service of these warriors. Also included are many photographs, maps, text of actual radio messages translated into Lakota, an extensive bibliography, and an index.

Page wrote the book for middle readers, but it speaks to all ages and includes how the actions of the Code Talkers – both during and after the war – embodied their beliefs.

A Book Launch Party was held Saturday, April 8 at the Spencerport Fireman’s Exempts Club and many people attended to have their books signed by Page.

The cake (from Cake Co-op) at the book launch event was decorated to look like the cover of the book. The cover features a symbol which represents the four virtues of tribal life: serenity, bravery, fortitude and wisdom. K. Gabalski photo

The cake (from Cake Co-op) at the book launch event was decorated to look like the cover of the book. The cover features a symbol which represents the four virtues of tribal life: serenity, bravery, fortitude and wisdom. K. Gabalski photo

“I’m still savoring the amazing and overwhelming response to my book,” she says.  “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact it’s out to the printer for a second printing.”

Those attending the event shared many stories, Page says.  “People asked me questions, but many knew about this 20 year journey, so they were just as excited as I was that the book is finally here. There were many people who came who I do not know, they came because of the topic.  Everyone was so kind and complimentary and thankful for the telling of this story.”

Page teaches sixth grade English Language Arts in the Spencerport Central School District. Colleague and “support system” member Wendy Ransom attended the book launch and was thrilled that the book is now in print.

“It’s a testament to what patience and time will do,” she observed, “even when it feels like forever. I’m so proud of Andrea.  She said she wanted to write the book so she could share her family’s stories with others.  Through all the work and research, she never stopped.”

Sioux Code Talkers of World War II  is going into its second printing. It is available through local bookstores including Lift Bridge Books in Brockport and at www.pelicanpub.com.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login