The United States Mint today officially launched the 2011 Native American $1 Coin. The original release was scheduled for January 12, 2011, but the Mint was forced to cancel that event owing to a string of bad winter weather in the area during that time.
So, the Mint rescheduled the release for today. The event began at 10:30 AM (Eastern Time) and was held at the Henry Hornblower II Visitor Center on Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Attendees to the event included B. B. Craig, United States Mint Associate Director of Sales and Marketing, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head; Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; and Jim Adams, senior historian of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
The plantations location, and the fact that the ceremony was held there, is not particularly surprising. It is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, site of the original Plymouth Colony which was established by European settlers in 1620. It was also here that the first formal written peace alliance was created between the European settlers and Native Americans.
That specific instance is actually even portrayed on the reverse of the new $1 coin. It shows the hands of the Supreme Sachem Ousamequin Massasoit and Governor John Carver symbolically offering the ceremonial peace pipe after drafting the alliance. This reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
"The 2011 Native American $1 Coin celebrates the Wampanoag Treaty of 1621 that later led the English colonists and Massosoit and his men to join in a first harvest feast," said B. B. Craig, United States Mint Associate Director of Sales and Marketing.
Following the ceremony, children in attendance were given a new 2011 Native American $1 Coin just for being there. Adults were offered the opportunity to purchase rolls of the new strikes.
The US Mint will begin selling additional rolls of the 2011 Native American $1 Coin next week on March 28, 2011.