The U.S. Mint has announced its designs for the 2015 and 2016 Native American $1 coins, and the choice of subjects—Mohawk Iron Workers and Code Talkers—represent a focus on late 19th- and 20th-century Native history. Since 2009, beginning with a depiction of the "three sisters" agricultural technique, which Natives practiced for thousands of years before European contact, reverse-side coin designs have spotlighted elements of Native culture or episodes from history in a sort of timeline. The 2014 coin commemorated the Native role played in Lewis and Clark's 1804-06 journey into the Pacific Northwest.
Under the terms of the Native American Coin Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, the 2016 coin will be the program's last.
Below is the full press release, dated September 3, from the U.S. Mint:
WASHINGTON – The United States Mint announced today the reverse (tails side) designs selected for the 2015 and 2016 Native American $1 Coins.
The theme for the 2015 design is "Mohawk high iron workers, builders of New York City and other skylines (from 1886)." The design depicts a Mohawk ironworker reaching for an I-beam that is swinging into position, rivets on the left and right side of the border, and a high elevation view of the city skyline in the background. The design includes the required inscriptions United States of America and $1, and the additional inscription Mohawk Ironworkers. United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Ronald D. Sanders designed the reverse, and United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill will sculpt it.
The theme for the 2016 design is "Code Talkers from both World War I and World War II (1917-1945)." The design features two helmets with the inscriptions WWI and WWII, and two feathers that form a "V," symbolizing victory, unity, and the important role that these code talkers played. The design also includes the required inscriptions United States of America and $1. Artist Thomas D. Rogers, Sr. designed the reverse. The sculptor-engraver will be selected at a later date.
The obverses (heads sides) of the 2015 and 2016 Native American $1 Coins will continue to feature sculptor Glenna Goodacre's "Sacagawea" design, introduced in 2000. Inscriptions will be LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The year, mint mark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM will be incused on the coins' edges.
The Native American $1 Coin Program is authorized by the Native American $1 Coin Act (Public Law 110-82). The program, launched in 2009, calls for the United States Mint to mint and issue $1 coins featuring designs celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States.