This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
>> Subscribe today!
A ceremonial peace pipe will grace the reverse of the 2011 Native American $1 coin.
Both the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Com-mittee had endorsed the design earlier this year. Its selection was announced Nov. 26 by the United States Mint.
The theme for the design is “Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit of the Great Wampanoag Nation Creates Alliance with Settlers at Plymouth Bay (1621).”
The 2011 reverse design depicts 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 European settlers. The design includes the required inscriptions, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1, along with the additional inscription WAMPANOAG TREATY 1621.
The reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
The obverse (heads side) design remains the familiar “Sacagawea” design, introduced in 2000 by sculptor Glenna Goodacre. Like the Presidential $1 coins, they are minted in the distinctive golden color.
Within most Native American cultures, the ability to make peace was historically as highly prized as leadership in war and often conducted by a separate peace chief, who stepped in when the time for the warriors had passed, the Mint noted. For centuries, tribes created alliances with each other that spanned hundreds of miles. One of the first treaties for a mutual alliance with settlers in what became the United States of America occurred between the Puritan settlers at Plymouth and the Massasoit of the Pokanoket Wampanoag in 1621. Historians credit the alliance with the Massasoit with ensuring survival of the Plymouth colony.
The Native American $1 Coin Program requires the United States Mint to 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 Mint issued the first coin in the program in 2009.