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Native American $1 Coins

Native American $1 Coin Act banner

Native American $1 Coins

“To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue coins in commemoration of Native Americans and the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the development of the United States and the history of the United States, and for other purposes.” Public Law 110-82

Beginning in 2009, the United States Mint will 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. The obverse design remains the central figure of the "Sacagawea" design first produced in 2000, and contains the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse design changes each year to celebrate an important contribution of Indian tribes, or individual Native Americans, and contain the inscriptions $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Like the Presidential $1 Coins, the Native American $1 Coins maintain their distinctive edge and golden color and feature edge-lettering of the year, mint mark and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The 2009 Native American $1 Coin reverse features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1.

Sacagawea profile

Until the conclusion of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the coins will be issued, to the maximum extent practicable, in chronological order of the events or lives of the persons being featured on the reverse design. In general, five distinct $1 coins will be issued each year -- four Presidential $1 Coins and one Native American $1 Coin. After the completion of the Presidential $1 Coin Program, the Native American $1 Coin Program will continue, featuring designs in any order determined to be appropriate by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the House of Representatives Congressional Native American Caucus and the National Congress of American Indians.

The United States Mint will prepare a timeline of events and personal contributions of Native Americans for the program until at least 2016. This timeline will be used to create candidate designs for consideration. At various stages in the evaluation process, the United States Mint will consult with the Committee on Indian Affairs, Congressional Native American Caucus, National Congress of American Indians, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The Secretary of the Treasury makes the final selection of designs to be minted and issued.

The United States Mint will continue to produce Presidential $1 Coins and Native American $1 Coins so that the total quantity of $1 coins minted and issued for circulation is sufficient to meet the needs of the Nation. The law requires that at least 20 percent of all such $1 coins minted and issued in any year be Native American $1 Coins.

2009 Native American $1 Coin

Image  features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1
2009 Native American $1 Coin Reverse
(Artist Rendering)

Sacagawea portrayed in three-quarter profile. On her back, Sacagawea carries Jean Baptiste, her infant son and the inscriptions Liberty and IN GOD WE TRUST

The 2009 Native American $1 Coin is based on the theme of agriculture. Its reverse features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash and the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1.


Agriculture has always been an important subject in Native American culture. Native American culture emphasizes living with the land and understanding the surrounding natural resources. When Europeans first arrived in the “New World,” one of the largest contributions and benefits of their relationships with Native Americans was the sharing of agricultural information. It is widely acknowledged that colonists would not have survived in the New World without the support and knowledge gained from Native American agricultural techniques.

Native Americans practiced crop rotation, round cropping, hybridizations, seed development, irrigation methods and many other agricultural techniques that are still used today.

Spread of Three Sisters Agriculture (1000 A.D.)

Maize was domesticated in central Mexico and spread from the southwest through North America, along with symbiotic “Three Sisters” agriculture, in which corn, beans and squash growing in the same mound enhanced the productivity of each plant. Native American skill in agriculture provided the margin of survival for the early European colonists, either through trade or direct sharing of expertise, and agricultural products native to the Americas quickly became staples throughout Europe.

Edge lettering of three coins manufactured in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Denver with the year 2009 and E Pluribus Unum.

Three Sisters symbiotic agriculture -- planting corn, climbing beans and squash together in the same plot -- also originated in central Mexico and probably spread simultaneously with the corn. In this efficient planting method, corn stalks provided support for the bean vines, which added nitrogen to the soil. Squash provided ground cover, which discouraged weeds. Productivity was much higher (by some estimates as much as 30 percent) for the three grown together than each grown separately.

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