At their most recent meeting, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) reviewed the candidate designs for the Code Talker Recognition Congressional Medal Program. The United States Mint provided obverse and reverse candidates for medals honoring the Code Talkers of the Pueblo of Acoma (New Mexico), Hopi Tribe (Arizona), Oneida Nation (Wisconsin), Ponca Tribe (Arizona), Tonto Apache Tribe (Arizona), and White Mountain Apache Tribe (Arizona). The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) had previously reviewed the candidates and provided their recommendations. The tribes had also expressed their preferences.
Under Public Law 110-420, the Secretary of the Treasury will strike and issue Congressional medals to recognize Native American Code Talkers for their contributions during World War I and World War II. Unique gold medals will be struck for each of the 32 Native American Tribe that had a member who served as a Code Talker. Silver duplicate medals will be presented to the specific Code Talker or their next of kin. Bronze duplicate medals are also expected to be struck and made available for sale to the public.
Pueblo of Acoma
The obverse designs depict Pueblo of Acoma Code Talkers carrying out communication tasks, while the reverse design candidates feature variations of the Pueblo of Acoma flag. The CCAC recommended obverse 1, which received 28 out of 30 votes, and reverse 3 with a perfect score of 30.
The tribe’s preference was for obverse 1 and reverse 3. The CFA had recommended obverse 2 and reverse 2.
Obverse designs for the Hopi Tribe feature one or more Code Talkers communicating on the field phone or using binoculars. The reverse designs are variations of the Hopi Tribe flag. The CCAC recommended obverse 3 with 29 votes and reverse 1 with 28 votes.
The tribe preferred obverse 3 and reverse 1. The CFA recommended obverse 4 and 3.
The five different obverse design candidates feature various Oneida Nation Code Talkers in action. The reverse design candidates feature the Great White Pine Tree of Peace with four white roots atop a turtle. On each, the footprint of a bear appears to the left and the footprint of a wolf to the right, representing the clans of the Oneida Nation. The CCAC recommended obverse 3 with a perfect score of 30 and reverse 1 with 28 votes.
Both the tribe and CFA preferred obverse 3. For the reverse the tribe preferred design 1, while the CFA recommended design 3.
The obverse design candidates feature Ponca Tribe Code Talkers in action. Chief Standing Bear and Chief White Eagle are incorporated into designs 2 and 4. The single reverse design features a variation of the Ponca Tribe Seal. The CCAC recommended obverse design 4 with 29 out of a possible 30 votes.
Both the tribe and CFA also preferred obverse design 4.
Tonto Apache Tribe
The obverse design candidates represent Tonto Apache Tribe Code Talkers, while the reverse candidates feature variations of the Tonto Apache seal. The CCAC recommended obverse 1 with 29 out of 30 votes and reverse 3 with 23 votes.
The tribe preferred obverse 1 and reverse 3. The CFA made recommendations for obverse 1 and reverse 2.
White Mountain Apache Tribe
The three obverse design candidates feature White Mountain Apache Code Talkers communicating in various war settings. The single reverse design features a variation of the White Mountain Apache Tribe seal. The CCAC recommended obverse 1 with 28 out of a possible 30 votes.
For the obverse, the tribe preferred design 1, while the CFA recommended design 3.