2016 Native American $1 Coin

Background

The 2016 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the contributions of the Native American Code Talkers in World War I and World War II.

Introduction

It is estimated that more than 12,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military during World War I. In World War II, more than 44,000 Native Americans, out of a total Native American population of less than 350,000, served with distinction in both the European and Pacific theaters. Hundreds played a vital communications role in both world wars. This select group of Native Americans was asked to develop and use secret battle codes using their native languages to communicate troop movements and enemy positions. Their efforts saved many lives because America’s enemies were unable to decode their messages.

Contribution

Native languages came to play an increasingly vital role in the U.S. war effort in both World War I and II. Several tribes provided Native American speakers for telephone squads on the French battlefields in World War I. Additional tribes sent soldiers to join the code talkers of World War II, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and the Pacific. The languages used by American Indians greatly assisted their fellow American soldiers in the heat of battle by transmitting messages in unbreakable battle codes. The Navajo code talkers from the World War II Pacific Theater were the most famous group, numbering approximately 420 by the end of the war.

For more information on additional Native Americans tribes honored, please visit the Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medal Program.

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Characteristics

The obverse design retains the central figure of the “Sacagawea” design first produced in 2000.

The reverse design features two helmets—one in the shape of the U.S. helmets used in World War I and the other in the shape of a World War II helmet. Behind the helmets are two feathers that form a "V," symbolizing victory, unity and the important role that the code talkers played in both world wars.

Obverse Inscriptions

  • LIBERTY
  • IN GOD WE TRUST

Reverse Inscriptions

  • WWI
  • WWII
  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  • $1
  • CODE TALKERS

Incused (edge) Inscriptions

  • 2016
  • Mint mark
  • E PLURIBUS UNUM

Mint and Mint Mark

Artist Information

Obverse
  • Designer: Glenna Goodacre
Reverse
  • Sculptor: Renata Gordon, Sculptor-Engraver
  • Designer: Thomas D. Rogers
Content last reviewed June 1, 2016

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