The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recently reviewed design alternatives for a Congressional Gold Medal to be issued honoring the Code Talkers of the Muscogee Creek Nation.
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. So far, the CFA and CCAC have reviewed design alternatives for medals honoring 12 of these tribes.
From the three obverse design alternatives provided by the United States Mint, the CFA recommended alternative #1 due to the superior legibility of the design elements and near-profile pose of the figure. The CCAC preferred alternative #3, which garnered 22 out of the possible 27 scoring points.
Four different reverse design alternatives were provided by the Mint. The CFA felt that alternative #3 was the best design, which also matched the preference of the tribe. Once again, the CCAC offered a different recommendation with alternative #2 receiving 24 out of 27 possible scoring points. Members commented that the modern design of this alternative would produce a beautiful medal.
The authority to select the final obverse and reverse designs for the medal rests with the Secretary of the Treasury.
After the selection of the design and production 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.