2014 Native American $1 Coin: Native Hospitality to the Lewis and Clark Expedition
The 2014 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the native hospitality that helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition to fulfill its mission. In the image, a Native American woman offers food while a man offers a pipe.
The face of a compass like the one William Clark used is seen faintly in the background. The marking “NW” indicates the part of the country (Northwest) where the expedition took place. The design includes the required inscriptions “United States of America” and “$1.”
When the expedition set out, the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes of the Missouri River welcomed the explorers, who called themselves the “Corps of Discovery,” to their village of dome-shaped dwellings in present-day North Dakota. Their village was the central marketplace for the northern plains.
When the expedition crossed the Continental Divide, it was venturing outside the area of the Louisiana Purchase and into the Pacific Northwest. The mission’s success depended on help from Native American tribes more than ever before, though the tribes might not have understood the long-term consequences of their hospitality.
To get them across the mountains, the explorers relied on the Nez Perce tribe to supply horses from their famous herd. Later, down the length of the Columbia River, the explorers traded with the Chinook and other tribes for provisions.
The Clatsop tribe were flourishing on the southern side of the Columbia River in what is now known as Oregon. Coboway, chief of one of the villages, was a frequent and welcome visitor to the expedition’s winter camp, which they named Fort Clatsop.
The Clatsop also informed Lewis and Clark that there were many elk on the south side of the Columbia, which influenced them in building Fort Clatsop where they did. When the expedition’s food supplies were running low, the Clatsop told the corps about a whale that had washed ashore some miles to the south.
As the expedition left Fort Clatsop for the return trip home in the spring, Lewis committed the expedition’s one act of pilferage: he took a Native canoe for the voyage up the river. This misdeed remained on the historical record. In 2011, the family of William Clark presented a copy of the canoe to the Chinook tribe to pay them back.