Today, the Commission of Fine Arts will be reviewing proposals for the 2011 Native American Dollar reverse design. The theme for the reverse designs is Diplomacy: Treaties with Tribal Nations.
Since 2009, the Native American Dollar coin series has featured annually rotating reverse designs which celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Native Americans. These have been paired with an obverse design featuring Sacagawea and child, as depicted on the Sacagawea Dollar coin series from 2000 to 2008.
The 2009 Native American Dollar was based on a theme of agriculture and featured a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans, and squash to represent the “Three Sisters” method of planting. The 2010 release had the theme Government- The Great Tree of Peace. The reverse design featured the Hiawatha Belt encircling five arrows as a representation of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy.
The 2011 Native American Dollar reverse design takes focus on the treaty between Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit (title meaning head chief) of the Great Wampanoag Nation, and the English settlers in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. This represented the first written treaty between an Indigenous people and European settlers within what would become the United States of America.
Under the treaty, Massasoit promised to defend the settlers in return for their intervention if his people were attacked. Massasoit’s intermediaries also gave the settlers invaluable tips on survival. Later that summer, the Plymouth settlers honored the treaty by coming to Massasoit’s rescue when he was believed to have been captured by enemies. In mid-October, Massasoit and 90 of his tribesmen celebrated Harvest Feast at Plymouth, which served as inspiration for the legend of the First Thanksgiving.
A total of six design candidates have been prepared by the United States Mint.