WASHINGTON – Hundreds of spectators in the Potomac Atrium of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) eagerly watched today as United States Mint Director Ed Moy and NMAI Director Kevin Gover performed a ceremonial pour of newly minted 2009 Native American $1 Coins from an authentic handcrafted Native American basket. The presentation of this new $1 coin was part of the opening activities for NMAI’s three-day festival entitled, “Out of Many: A Multicultural Festival of Music, Dance and Story.”

“With this coin, we hope to educate Americans, as the museum does, on how Native Americans helped make this country the premier food producer in the world,” Director Moy said.

The United States Mint released the new 2009 Native American $1 Coin on January 2, 2009. The coin’s obverse (heads side) design continues to feature the familiar image of Sacagawea used since 2000. Beginning in 2009, the coin’s reverse (tails side) will feature a new design each year. The agriculturally themed design on the 2009-dated coin depicts a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash, emblematic of the “Three Sisters” method of planting.

The NMAI’s three-day festival is part of numerous presidential inaugural celebrations planned throughout the Washington, D.C., area. Festivities at the museum include music, dancing and storytelling from a variety of cultural traditions. Live performances will take place in the NMAI’s Potomac Atrium and other locations throughout the museum.

Following the ceremony, Directors Moy and Gover gave out newly minted 2009 Native American $1 Coins to each child 18 years old and younger. Adults who attended the event exchanged their paper currency for the $1 coin at the United States Mint’s Real Change Exchange Truck outside the museum.

The Native American $1 Coin Act of 2008-passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush-commemorates Native Americans for their contributions to the history and development of the United States. The coins will be issued in chronological order of the events or lives of the persons being featured on the rotating reverse design until at least 2016.

To learn more about the Native American $1 Coin Program, visit http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/nativeamerican/

To download digital images of the Native American $1 Coin, visit http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=Photo#2009NativeAmerican

Contact:
Press inquiries: Greg Hernandez (202) 354-7222
Customer Service information: (800) USA MINT (872-6468)