WASHINGTON DC –
President Bush signed a bill late Thursday championed by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) honoring the contributions of Native Americans to our country by issuing $1 coins with the likeness of Native leaders in American history.
This passage of the legislation, known as the Native American $1 Coin Act of 2007, means the United States will issue a coin each year with a new design honoring a different Native American individual or contribution, while keeping the image of Sakakawea, who is currently on the dollar coin, on the front of the coin.
“These special coins will pay tribute to the first Americans,” said Senator Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “We currently honor Sakakawea, who played an important part in leading Lewis and Clark through the American West and is the only Native American currently on a U.S. coin. These new coins will honor Sakakawea and other Native Americans for their tremendous contributions to our country.”
Congressman Dale E. Kildee (D-MI), co-chairman of the Congressional Native American Caucus, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
“I was honored to introduce this bill. I can think of no better way to pay tribute to the Native American people than to cast in gold their contribution to the development of this nation and its history,” said Kildee. “The coin will preserve the memory of Sacagawea and guide Americans through the journey and experiences of Native Americans.”
The legislation amends the Presidential $1 Coin Act to issue a new coin design each year beginning in 2009 for the duration of the Presidential $1 Coin Act. The bill improves the circulation and marketing of the current Sakakawea dollar coin. The image on the reverse of each coin would be chosen by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the Congressional Native American Caucus and the National Congress of American Indians.