At a meeting held on June 16, 2011, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed design candidates prepared by the United States Mint for the 2012 Native American Dollar.
The Native American Dollar series began in 2009 and has highlighted the contributions and accomplishments of Native Americans on an annually rotating reverse design. The themes have been Agriculture with the “Three Sisters” method of planting (2009), Government with the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy (2010), and Diplomacy with the first written treaty between Native Americans and English settlers (2011). The design for 2012 will represent the spread of the horse and trade routes of the 17th century.
A total of 13 different design candidates for the 2012 Native American Dollar were presented. Seven of the designs featured traditional depictions, while the remaining six were based on the ledger style of Native American art.
The CFA praised the use of alternatives based on ledger art as opposed to to the “representational narrative treatment” that is typical of US Mint design candidates and encouraged further exploration of the style in future coins. Their official recommendation was for design candidate #8, which was one of the traditional alternatives, portraying a Native American and horse in profile.
Some recommendations were made to alter the design including removing the three smaller horses included in the background and moving the denomination closer to the rim, placing it in the same circumferential zone as the other text.
The remaining design candidates are shown below: