CCAC members recommend designs for Code Talkers gold medals

Medals to honor the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York, New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 10/10/15
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Designs proposed for two congressional gold medals honoring members of two Native American tribes whose members served as Code Talkers during World War I and World War II were recommended Oct. 7 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

The medals are among 33 to be produced by the Mint under provisions of the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.

In addition to the gold medals presented to each tribe recognized, the U.S. Mint will also strike silver versions for presentation to surviving Code Talkers or family members. The Treasury secretary will also likely approve production of 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medals, as he has for previous Code Talkers medals.

Medal designs

The designs recommended Oct. 7 by the CCAC would give the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York a medal that features on the obverse a soldier talking on a radio and surrounded with images of the tribe’s symbols, a bear, wolf and snapping turtle, and on the reverse a Mohawk warrior wearing a bear claw necklace, with war clubs, a headdress, and a Mohawk Wolf belt completing the design. 

New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna secured backing for its preferred designs of a crouching infantryman holding a gun and radio for the obverse, and a reverse featuring the tribal seal and turkey and corn symbols. 

The committee had at first endorsed other designs that it believed the tribe had approved, but once a tribal representative urged a change via telephone, the panel quickly agreed to change its first recommendations.

The CCAC had initially favored a different design with a soldier holding a gun and radio for the obverse and another version of the dancing eagle tribal symbol and the arm patch of the 43rd Bombardment Group in which tribal members served. 

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