This post was originally published on this site

Last Updated Nov 27, 2017 2:53 PM EST

President Donald Trump hosted an event for Native American code talkers at the White House on Monday, honoring war heroes who used their native language to outwit the enemy and protect U.S. battlefield communications during battle in World Wars I and II. 

Members of Native American tribes exchanged sensitive military information by transmitting military plans to each other in their native tongues on the battlefield. Since in some cases, their languages were unwritten, they were able to communicate in a way that confused German enemies trying to break U.S. military codes.

During the event, the code talkers described the harrowing experiences they undertook during their time defending the United States during the battle of Iwo Jima. Only 13 surviving navajo code talkers still remain. 

Mr. Trump hailed the men as “special people” who have an ultimate love of the country. He also took the solemn occasion to acknowledge the history of the native people in America while also calling out Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, a reference to claims she made about being part Native American in the past. 

“You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas!” Mr. Trump remarked. 

Mr. Trump has called her “Pocahontas” in the past in reference to questions about Warren’s heritage.  

The code talkers also called for a museum to built in honor of the war heroes to educate children, something Mr. Trump said he would help them do. “You deserve it,” he added.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.