US Coins

What to expect from 2019-20 Native American dollars

“American Indians in the Space Program” and “Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Law” are the overall design themes, respectively, for the 2019 and 2020 Native American dollars.

Members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee met by teleconference Jan. 17 to discuss the narratives accompanying the design themes. The discussion focused more on design elements that would reflect Native American contributions rather than single out the achievements of one individual for recognition.

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The panel’s suggested elements will be presented to the U.S. Mint’s engraving staff, and possibly the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program artists, for consideration in rendering proposals for reverse designs for the coins. 

Once designs have been rendered, they will be presented to the CCAC and the Commission of Fine Arts for review by the panels’ members. The recommendations by those panels will then be considered by the secretary of the Treasury or designate in making final design choices for the coins.

The reverses will be paired with sculptor Glenna Goodacre’s obverse portrait of Sacagawea and her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, introduced on the Sacagawea dollar in 2000, and continued on the Native American $1 Coin series beginning in 2009

The Mint presented CCAC members the following narratives for their discussion:

??2019 — American Indians in the Space Program: 

“American Indians have been on the modern frontier of space flight since the beginning of NASA. 

“The service of American Indians culminated in the flight of John Herrington (Chickasaw) on the International Space Station in 2002, including three space walks, but it dates to the work of Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008). She is considered the first female American Indian engineer, and in her work helped develop the Agena spacecraft for the Gemini and Apollo space programs.

“2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface.”

??2020 — Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Law: 

“The first anti-discrimination law in the United States, prohibiting discrimination in access to public accommodations, was passed in the Alaskan Territorial Government in 1945. Elizabeth Peratrovich (Tlingit), through her advocacy for Alaskan Natives with her husband Roy and an impassioned speech in the Alaskan Senate in support of the law, is widely credited with getting it passed.

“2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Elizabeth Peratrovich’s famous testimony in support of the nation’s first anti-discrimination law.”

The Native American dollar program is an offshoot of the original Sacagawea dollar series. A different commemorative reverse is produced every year commemorating an historic accomplishment by the Native American community. 

Like the now-completed Presidential dollars program, the coins in the Native American dollar program are not struck for circulation. They instead are produced with various finishes and are sold to Mint customers at premium prices. 

The Native American dollar program began in 2009. 

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