During a meeting held on September 20, 2012, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) reviewed design alternatives for Congressional Gold Medals to honor the Code Talkers from the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe. In previous meetings, the CFA had reviewed design alternatives for eight other tribes. Coverage of their reviews can be found here and here.
In 2011, Navajo Code Talkers were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for their contributions during World War II. Under Public Law 110-420, an additional 22 tribes will be recognized for their contributions during World War I and World War II.
According to the authorizing legislation, the gold medals shall be accepted and maintained by the Smithsonian Institution, which 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. Finally, bronze duplicate medals are expected to be struck and sold to the public.
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe – The CFA recommended obverse design candidate #2, preferring the simple background with a clear horizon to another alternative featuring a different background. For the reverse, they recommended design candidate #1, but suggested that the text “Act of Congress 2008” should be moved to the lower portion of the rim and “World War I” and “World War II” should be moved to the upper portion of the rim.
Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe – The CFA did not offer a recommendation from the two obverse design candidates provided. They commented that the eagle was “overly large” in both candidates and “appeared to be attacking the solider” in candidate #1. For the reverse design, they recommended candidate #2 with suggestions that the spelling of “Theatre” be changed to the more standard “Theater”, the text “World War II” and “Act of Congress” be aligned horizontally, and typefaces coordinated between the obverse and reverse designs.
All of the design candidates provided by the United States Mint are shown below.