During a meeting held on June 25, 2013, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed the obverse and reverse design candidates for Congressional Gold Medals to be issued honoring the Native American Code Talkers of seven different tribes. The CCAC has reviewed design candidates for one or more Code Talker medals on five separate occasions. Previous coverage can be found here, here, here, here, and here.
Under the Navajo Code Talkers Congressional Gold Medal Act passed in 2000, the Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Navajo Code Talkers for their contributions during World War II. Under the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008, additional tribes will be recognized for their contributions during World War I and World War II. As of late January 2013, an updated list of Native American Code Talkers who served in the armed forces during both wars has grown to include 32 different tribes.
After the selection of the designs, production, and presentation of the gold medals, the authorizing legislation states that the Smithsonian Institution shall accept and maintain the gold medals and is encouraged to create a standing exhibit for Native American code talkers or Native American veterans. Silver duplicate medals will be awarded to members (or their next of kin or other personal representative) of the recognized Native American tribes who served in the Armed Forces as a code talker. Bronze duplicate medals are expected to be struck and made available for sale to the public.
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes
From a field of five different obverse design candidates featuring the elements of the Infantry helmet and radio communications equipment, the CCAC recommended candidate 1. From four different options for the reverse, the CCAC recommended candidate 3, featuring an outline of the Fort Peck Indian reservation and the 41st Infantry Division Patch. Both recommendations matched the tribe preferences.
Five different obverse design candidates were provided featuring Cherokee National code talkers communicating on the field phone. One of the candidates incorporated a second figure using binoculars. The CCAC recommended design 5 featuring a code talker with a field phone and also writing. For the reverse the CCAC recommended design 3, featuring the Cherokee Nation seal. The seven-pointed star represents the traditional seven clans of Cherokee: the Bird, Wild Potato, Deer, Long Hair, Blue, Paint, and Wolf Clans. The wreath of leaves and acorns represent the sacred fire of the Cherokee. The CCAC’s recommendation for the reverse matched the tribe preference. No preference was provided for the obverse.
From seven different obverse design candidates featuring Ho-Chunk Nation code talkers in action, the CCAC recommended design 7. The tribe had preferred an alternate design. For the reverse, the CCAC recommended design 1, featuring the Ho-Chunk Nation seal and matching the preference of the tribe.
From four different obverse design candidates, the CCAC recommended alternative 4, matching the preference of the tribe. The inscriptions on each candidate incorporated “ne me skwa, ki i be na,” which translates to “We are the Red Earth People.” For the reverse, the CCAC recommended alternative 3, featuring the Meskwaki Nation Tribal logo. This matched the preference of the tribe.
Oglala Sioux Tribe
There were three different obverse and six different reverse design candidates provided for the Oglala Sioux Tribe code talkers medal. The CCAC recommended obverse 1 and reverse 3, matching the preferences of the tribe. The CCAC did make a motion to remove the inscription “World War II” from the bottom right arc on the reverse. The reverse design is based on the Oglala Sioux Tribe flag. The nine tipis represent the nine districts of Oglala, Porcupine, Wakpamni, Medicine Root, Pass Creek, Eagle Nest, White Clay, PR Village, La Creek, and Wounded Knee.
Six different design candidates each were provided for the obverse and reverse of the Seminole Nation Code Talkers Medal. The CCAC recommended obverse 1 and reverse 3 matching the preferences of the tribe. The obverse design includes an early period chief in the background with an inscription “ACEMEKET HECETV HERET OS”, which translates to “It is Good To Climb and See.” The reverse depicts the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma seal. The CCAC made a motion to add the word “of” to the reverse inscription.
Yankton Sioux Tribe
Six different obverse design candidates were provided featuring Yankton Sioux Tribe code talkers delivering messages in various ways. Two different reverse designs were provided featuring a drawing of a buffalo skull with tribal colors submitted by the Yankton Sioux and painted in honor of tribe veterans. The CCAC recommended obverse 4 and reverse 2, matching the tribe preferences.