In 2009, the United States Mint began minting and issuing $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 Native American $1 Coin Program is authorized by the Native American $1 Coin Act (Public Law 110-82).
The obverse (heads side) design retains the central figure of the "Sacagawea" design first produced in 2000 with the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse (tails side) design changes each year to honor an important contribution of Indian tribes or individual Native Americans with the inscriptions $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Reverse designs for the Native American $1 Coin are selected by the Secretary of the Treasury after consulting with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Congress of American Indians, and after public review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Like Presidential $1 Coins, Native American $1 Coins have a distinctive edge, are golden in color, and feature edge-lettering of the year, mint mark and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
During the years of the program that correspond with the Presidential $1 Coin Program, Native American $1 Coins will be issued, to the maximum extent practicable, in the chronological order in which the Native Americans depicted lived or the events recognized occurred. Following the conclusion of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the Native American $1 Coin Program coins will be issued in any order determined to be appropriate by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Congress of American Indians, and after public review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
The 2009 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates the spread of Three Sisters Agriculture around 1000 A.D. and features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash. The 2010 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates the Great Tree of Peace and the Iroquois Confederacy of the early 1400s, and features an image of the Hiawatha Belt with five arrows bound together and the additional inscriptions HAUDENOSAUNEE and GREAT LAW OF PEACE. The 2011 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates the Great Wampanoag Nation and the creation of an alliance with settlers at Plymouth Bay in 1621 and features the hands of the Supreme Sachem Ousamequin Massasoit and Governor John Carver, symbolically offering the ceremonial peace pipe after the initiation of the first formal written peace alliance between the Wampanoag tribe and the European settlers. The additional inscription is WAMPANOAG TREATY 1621. The 2012 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates the Trade Routes that helped spread the horse in 17th Century, and features a Native American and horse in profile with horses running in the background. The 2013 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates the Treaty with the Delawares and features a turkey, howling wolf and turtle (all symbols of the clans of the Delaware Tribe), and a ring of 13 stars to represent the Colonies. The additional inscriptions are TREATY WITH THE DELAWARES and 1778. The 2014 Native American $1 Coin reverse commemorates how Native American hospitality ensured the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Its reverse design depicts a Native American man offering a pipe while his wife offers provisions of fish, corn, roots and gourds. In the background is a stylized image of the face of William Clark's compass highlighting “NW,” the area in which the expedition occurred. The design includes the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1. The 2015 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the contributions of the Kahnawake Mohawk and Mohawk Akwesasne communities to “high iron” construction work and the building of New York City skyscrapers. The reverse design depicts a Mohawk ironworker reaching for an I-beam that is swinging into position, rivets on the left and right side of the border, and a high elevation view of the city skyline in the background. The design includes the required inscriptions “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$1,” and the additional inscription “MOHAWK IRONWORKERS.” The 2016 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the contributions of the Native American Code Talkers in World War I and World War II. The reverse (tails side) 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. Next to them are the inscriptions “WWI” and “WWII.” 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. Additional inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$1” and “CODE TALKERS.”
In general, five distinct $1 coins will be issued each year: four Presidential $1 Coins and one Native American $1 Coin. (Note: In December 2011, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner directed that the United States Mint suspend minting and issuing circulating Presidential $1 Coins. However, the United States Mint will continue to offer several products that contain Native American $1 Coins and Presidential $1 Coins through our traditional direct numismatic sales channels. Also, only three Presidential $1 Coins will be issued in 2016 due to the end of the program.)