US Coins

Designs get CCAC nod for two Code Talkers gold medals

Designs proposed for congressional gold medals honoring Native American Code Talkers from the Pueblo of Laguna and Saint Regis Mohawk tribes were recommended Oct. 7 by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

The medals are among 33 to be issued under provisions of the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008, Public Law 110-420. Code Talkers were members of the U.S. military who used their Native American languages during World Wars I and II to send coded messages that the enemy could not decipher.

In addition to 3-inch gold medals to be awarded to designated tribes who had members who served as Code Talkers, 3-inch silver versions are also to be struck for distribution to surviving Code Talkers or their families. Three-inch and 1.5-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medal will be struck by the U.S. Mint and offered for sale to the general public at the discretion of the Treasury secretary.

The obverse design recommended by the CCAC for the Pueblo of Laguna medal depicts a Code Talker in combat fatigues with rifle, on a field radio unit strapped to his back, his left foot stepping out of an interior serrated-design circle. K'AWAIKA (Laguna) CODE TALKERS is inscribed around top border and PUEBLO OF LAGUNA below.

The recommended reverse is inscribed 43RD BOMBARDMENT GROUP along the top border above a serrated-edge arc. In the center is a dancing tribal member in eagle costume, with PUEBLO OF / LAGUNA below, along with the military unit's patch and WORLD WAR II in the field.

To the left is a turkey with its feathers fanned out with TSINA / HANU for "Big Turkey Clan" below. To the right of PUEBLO OF LAGUNA are ears of corn, with Y'AAK'A / WAASCH'I for "Little Corn Clan" below.

The recommended obverse for the Saint Regis Mohawk medal depicts a Code Talker on the radio, his rifle strapped over his left shoulder and a knife in a Native American sheath attached to a strap across his chest. In the field are a bear, wolf, and snapping turtle representing the tribe's clans, with a snipe perched on the turtle's shell. Inscribed along the top border is AKWESASNE MOHAWK CODE TALKERS.

The recommended reverse depicts a tribal warrior wearing a variation of the Mohawk kustowa headdress. Other devices are a bear claw necklace, war clubs, Mohawk Wolf Belt and a Hiawatha Belt. Inscribed in the field is WWI / WWII and around ACT OF CONGRESS 2008.

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