During World War II, the U.S. military recruited Native American Navajo speakers and, together, they developed a code to send secret information past Japanese and German code-breakers.
The code was never broken.
Richard Epstein, a linguist and professor at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, credits the Navajo language’s complex structure for it being such a successful code.
“It was so unbelievably complicated that the enemy couldn’t figure out how it worked,” he said. “And yet we took the children of these people away from their families to train them to speak English only, on the grounds that this language was inferior.”
Read more: Voice of America