Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Acclaimed Historian of WWII Navajo Code Talkers to Present Thomas Harriot Voyages of Discovery Lecture

March 1, 2016

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Zonnie Gorman
In 1942, following on the heels of the December '41 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military was searching for a way to transmit undecipherable code to its troops. That spring, a group of 29 young Navajo men created a code that thwarted the Japanese military. These men became known as the "first 29" Navajo Code Talkers.

Documentary consultant, educator and historian of the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII, Zonnie Gorman, will present the final lecture in the 2015-16 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. Gorman will discuss "Navajo Code Talkers: In-Depth with Zonnie Gorman" March 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Wright Auditorium at East Carolina University. At the conclusion of the event, members of the audience will be invited to participate in a question and answer session.

In 1989, Gorman embarked on a personal journey that led to the discovery that her father, the late Dr. Carl Gorman, was one of the original "first 29" Navajo Code Talkers. After years of research, Gorman is now an expert in the field, and she has lectured extensively at several universities and colleges as well as the Museum of the American Indian in New York.

She has appeared in and acted as a consultant to several documentaries including the History Channel's "Navajo Code Talkers," the documentary "True Whispers" and the movie "Windtalkers," which will be screened in ECU's Science and Technology building, room C-307 at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, the night before Gorman's lecture.

Gorman received her Master of Arts in history from the University of New Mexico in 2014. Currently, she is project coordinator for the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project, a nonprofit organization founded in May 2001 in Gallup, New Mexico, which offers a variety of Navajo role models to youth and fosters cultural pride and self-worth, while educating individuals about the rich history, culture, language and contributions of the Navajo people.

Gorman also serves as vice chair of the Gallup Economic Development and Tourism Commission; president of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Governor's Board; president of Extol Charitable Foundation, an organization dedicated to prevention education on fetal alcohol syndrome; and she is an advisory board member for College Horizons, a pre-college workshop for Native American students preparing for undergraduate and graduate school.

Co-sponsors of the lecture include the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, THCAS Department of English, ECU's Division of Academic Affairs, Division of Health Sciences, Division of Research, Economic Development and Engagement, Division of Student Affairs and the Honors College.

The Thomas Harriot lecture is a Wellness Passport event and is free to all attendees. No tickets are required. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

For additional information about the Voyages series and its speakers, visit More information about Harriot College is available at