By the dictates of an act that Congress passed last year, the reverse side of the gold-colored Sacagawea dollars will bear a new design each year starting in 2009, as part of a thematic series showing Native American contributions to the history and development of the United States.
The first coin shows a young Indian woman planting seeds in a field of cornstalks, bean vines and squash. Adopting Indian farming methods proved crucial to European settlers’ surviving their early years in America. The coin will enter circulation in January alongside the continuing series of presidential one-dollar coins, which began in 2007 (the ninth coin in that series, with a portrait of William Henry Harrison, will be released in February).
The theme for 2010 will be government. The second coin will show the Great Tree of Peace; a design for it will be approved next year. Future themes, to continue at least through 2016, are being worked on.
For more on the subject, see New Design for Sacagawea Dollar.