November 26, 2010

2011 Sacagawea dollar reverse unveiled

2011 Native American Dollar Design Selection Announced

By Michael ZielinskiThe United States Mint has announced the reverse design that will appear on the 2011 Native American Dollar. This series of circulating dollar coins features a different reverse design each year, representing the contributions and accomplishments of Native Americans.

The theme for the 2011 design is Diplomacy--Treaties with Tribal Nations. The selected reverse design specifically highlights the treaty between Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit of the Great Wampanoag Nation, and Governor John Carver of the European settlers at Plymouth Bay.

The design features the ceremonial passing of the peace pipe after initiating the first formal written peace alliance.
Comment:  Like the reverse of the 2010 dollar, this is another fine design.

It highlights some little-known aspects of history: that the Wampanoag signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and that they smoked peace pipes. We typically associate peace pipes with Plains Indians.

I guess the image depicts a Pilgrim handing the pipe to an Indian, which is a bit odd. Usually you think of Indians doing the passing and non-Indians doing the receiving. But if they were sitting in a circle, the passing could've happened that way.

It's nice that the Indian hand is more prominent and detailed. That conveys a key point: that Indians were active players in, even instigators of, diplomatic relations. They didn't just sit around waiting for white men to hand them a piece of paper to sign.

For more on the subject, see 2nd Sacagawea Dollar Reverse Unveiled and Sacagawea Dollar's Reverse Unveiled.


dmarks said...

"It's nice that the Indian hand is more prominent and detailed."

You are overlooking another detail: the elevation of the hand, also. For what it's worth, it makes me think of this.

shoebox911 said...

I believe the design depicts Supreme Sachem Ousamequin handing the ceremonial pipe to Governor John Carver.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Wampanoag peace treaty commemorated on new $1 coin

On the tails side of the coin, the image shows two arms extended—one belongs to Ousamequin, the Wampanoag's Massasoit, or supreme sachem, who is reaching out to offer a peace pipe to Plymouth Colony Gov. John Carver. Across the top it reads: "United States of America"; across the bottom: "Wampanoag Treaty 1621."

The $1 coin, which has the image of Sacagawea on the heads side, is the third in a series of coins that will depict Native American historical moments, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Mint.

"It's pretty cool," said Ramona Peters, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag and a tribe historian. "Artistically it could have been better. It could have included some background that gave you more of the northeastern flair."

One problem she pointed out in the design is that "the wampum beads are too small" on Ousamequin's wrist. The U.S. Mint press release also refers to the Pokanoket Wampanoag, but Pokanoket refers to a territory, not a tribe, Peters said. (There is a Pokanoket Wampanoag based in Bristol, R.I., but it is not federally recognized.)