Nov. 2013 archives: A tribe named alcoholic?

A closed-caption gaff at the Native American congressional code talker ceremony in November, 2013

On November 20, 2013, during the Code Talker Gold Medal Ceremony, a closed caption screen situated in full view of the entire audience displayed the words “Alcoholic” during the medal presentations to each tribe in attendance.

The press spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, Michael Steel said the incident was a “serious mistake” made by the close-caption company working for the Capitol.

Screenshot 2013-11-20 12.35.06

In an email from Steel — who apologized for taking a while to respond because they had to figure out the issue — explained accordingly:

“Closed captioning services for all major congressional events are provided by a private company that has no affiliation with the House or Senate. Unfortunately, the individual transcribing today’s event apparently misheard the word “Choctaw.” The transcription company was given a list of the tribes before the ceremony, so this should not have happened, and we will make a full inquiry,” wrote Steel.

“Obviously, the Speaker deeply regrets this offensive error by the transcribing service.”

On November 20, 2013, at 11 a.m., Native American Code Talkers from thirty-three tribes were honored at our state capitol in Washington DC and were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.

See Related: Code Talkers From 33 Tribes Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Senatorial and Congressional notables were present at the awards ceremony to include House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH), Tom Cole, (R-OK), Ron Kind (D-WI) Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. Jim Inhofe, (R-OK), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

Also in attendance were family members and tribal leaders representing the Native Code Talkers as well as 96-year-old Edmond Harjo.

The event was live-streamed on www.Speaker.Gov/Live and is on YouTube.

This article was originally posted on November 21, 2013, and was republished due to being removed from the original archives.

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling and Instagram - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

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