Oklahoma ceremony honors quarter candidate Maria Tallchief
- Published: Nov 17, 2023, 8 AM
The legacy of Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief — considered the nation’s first major prima ballerina — was celebrated Oct. 29 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in a collaborative ceremony staged at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum by the U.S. Mint, the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Museum and the Osage Nation.
Tallchief is recognized on the reverse of the final American Women quarter dollar to be issued in calendar year 2023. The Tallchief quarter dollar is the 10th of 20 quarter dollars to be released through the Federal Reserve under the American Women Quarters Program.
The Tallchief coin was officially released into general circulation nationwide on Oct. 23. Tallchief is also recognized on the reverse of the 2023 Native American dollar.
Approximately 400 people attended the Oct. 29 event, with each receiving a five-coin quarter board containing either a 2023-D or 2023-P American Women Maria Tallchief quarter dollar and spaces to insert the four other 2023 American Women quarter dollars.
There was no quarter dollar 40-coin roll exchange.
Attendees witnessed two ballet performances by the WahZhaZhe Ballet, and children from the Daposka Ahnkodapi school sang songs in the Osage language.
Special guests among those who delivered remarks were U.S. Treasurer Lynn Malerba — a chief in the Mohegan tribe and the first Native American to serve as U.S. treasurer — and actress Lily Gladstone, star of the recently released motion picture Killers of the Flower Moon.
Famed ballerina Misty Copeland was also in attendance along with members of Tallchief’s family and the Osage Nation. The event’s keynote speaker was Russ Tallchief, an Osage playwright, director, and actor, and the director of student diversity and inclusion at Oklahoma City University.
The reverse design for the Tallchief quarter dollar was rendered by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Designer Benjamin Sowards and sculpted by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Joseph F. Menna.
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