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April Coin of the Month

2013 Native American $1 Coin

For April’s coin, I present the 2013 Native American $1 Coin.  I love this coin because it shows three animals you don't see on coins very often:  a wolf, a turkey, and a turtle!

If you've read about this coin on the Native American $1 Coins page, you know that these animals stand for the three tribes of the Delaware Indians, who signed a treaty with the United States in 1778, during the Revolutionary War.  But let's take a closer look at the animals' tribes.

The Delaware Indians actually called themselves "Lenape" (Le-NAH-pay), which simply means “The People.”  The three sub-tribes that made up the Lenape each lived in a geographical area, and took their name from that area.  Each tribe also had an animal as its symbol.

  • The Minsi (or Munsee) tribe, which means “people of the stony country,” lived in the hills around the head of the Delaware River.  Their symbol was the wolf.
  • The Unami tribe, “the people down the river,” lived along the Delaware.  Their symbol was the turtle.
  • The turkey is the symbol of the Unalatchtigo (oo-na-LATCH-tgo), “a people who live near the ocean.”  Their lands were near the present city of Wilmington.

On this beautiful coin, each animal serves as a sort of coat of arms, representing three tribal communities and their pledge of peace and mutual aid with the young United States of America.


Image shows the front of the Native American $1 Coin.
Obverse:  Sacagawea carries her infant son in a sling on her back.

Image shows the back of the 2012 Native American $1 Coin.
Reverse:  Three animals symbolic of Delaware tribes stand above the legend "Treaty with the Delawares 1778."

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