The Mint describes the theme of the coin to be "Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit of the Great Wampanoag Nation Creates Alliance with Settlers at Plymouth Bay (1621)." It is meant to signify the first formal written peace alliance between the Wampanoag tribe and European settlers.
To signify that alliance, a hand representing Supreme Sachem Ousamequin Massasoit is shown exchanging the peace pipe to the hand representing Governor John Carver. Also shown on the new reverse are the inscriptions of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $1, WAMPANOAG TREATY and 1621.
The reverse was the work of United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Richard Masters and it was sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna. It marks the third new annual reverse for the Native American Coin since 2009.
These annual reverse changes to the coin are due to the Native American $1 Coin Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-82). It requires the annual changes until at least the year 2016 (or whenever the circulating Presidential $1 Coin series is ended). The new reverse designs are to honor Native Americans and the important contributions they have made to the history of the United States.
In 2009, the reverse showed a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash. This method of planting is known as the Three Sisters Method as each plant helps to support the growth of the other. It was a method perfected by the Native Americans and served as a stepping stone to the United States becoming the agricultural force that it is today. This design was completed by Norman E. Nemeth.
The 2010 reverse design was completed by Thomas Cleveland and engraved by Charles Vickers to show an image of the Hiawatha Belt with 5 arrows bound together. This design was meant to be representative of the five nations of the Iroquois Confederation.
On the obverse of all annual versions remains Glenna Goodacres image of the Shoshone Native American woman known as Sacagawea. Sacagawea is known for accompanying and guiding the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition which explored the frontier regions of the United States in the early 1800's.
The United States Mint will release the new 2011 coin as part of its circulation coinage early next year. Collectors will be able to obtain both circulation quality coins as well as collector grades directly from the Mint also sometime next year.