WASHINGTON – Beginning this year, the United States Mint will mint and issue $1 coins featuring designs celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States. The obverse design remains the central figure of the “Sacagawea” design first produced in 2000 and contains the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse design changes each year to celebrate an important contribution of Indian tribes, or individual Native Americans and contains the inscriptions $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Like the Presidential $1 Coins, the Native American $1 Coins maintain their distinctive edge and golden color and feature edge-lettering of the year, mint mark and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The 2009 Sacajawea dollar celebrates Native American agriculture and shows a woman planting among the “Three Sisters,” beans, corn and squash. U.S. Treasury photo
Members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts recommended April 16 a design showing a ceremonial woven wampum belt and five interlocking arrows for the reverse of the 2010 Native American $1 coin, the dollar coin that features famed Native guide Sacagawea on the obverse (or head).
Congress has directed that the coin’s reverse be changed annually to reflect Native themes. The 2009 coin celebrates Native American agriculture and shows a woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash.
The five arrows proposed for the 2010 coin were said to symbolize the five nations who composed the Haudenosaunee confederation in upstate New York. Popularly known as the Iroquois Confederation, that group was composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, according to the U.S. Mint.
This design won out over four other proposed designs said to represent the “Great Tree of Peace” created in the early 1400s by the Iroquois Confederacy. That white pine tree, toped by an eagle, was said to be the place were Peacemaker, an early Native leader, buried weapons to symbolize a treaty among the five nations in the group.
The question of what design will go on the coin will next go before the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee on April 28. Its recommendations, as well as those of Fine Arts panel, will go to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who will have the final say.
The action of the three commissioners hearing the Mint’s presentation followed the same reasoning as did three other Native American groups, who also recommended the wampum belt, said Kaarina Budow, the Mint’s design manager for sales and marketing.
The National Congress of American Indians, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and that House Native American Caucus also voted to endorse the belt design, she said.
The United States Mint will prepare a timeline of events and personal contributions of Native Americans for the program until at least 2016. This timeline will be used to create candidate designs for consideration. At various stages in the evaluation process, the United States Mint will consult with the Committee on Indian Affairs, Congressional Native American Caucus, National Congress of American Indians, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The Secretary of the Treasury makes the final selection of designs to be minted and issued.
The United States Mint will continue to produce Presidential $1 Coins and Native American $1 Coins so that the total quantity of $1 coins minted and issued for circulation is sufficient to meet the needs of the Nation. The law requires that at least 20 percent of all such $1 coins minted and issued in any year be Native American $1 Coins.
– Information from the United States Mint