At a ceremony held today in Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, thirty three Native American tribes were honored for the dedication and valor of their Code Talkers and their service to the United States Armed Forces during World War I and World War II. Twenty five of the tribes received Congressional Gold Medals with the remaining eight tribes to receive Medals at a later date.
The term “Code Talkers” refers to Native Americans who used their tribal languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. Back in 2001, a Congressional Gold Medal had been awarded to Navajo Code Talkers for their contributions during World War II. Under the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-420), additional tribes with members who served as Code Talkers during World War I or World War II were to be recognized. Eventually, 33 different eligible tribes were identified.
Public Law 110-420 specifies that the Congressional Gold Medals are to be accepted and maintained by the Smithsonian Institution, which is encouraged to create a standing exhibit for Native American code talkers or Native American veterans. Silver duplicate medals are to be awarded to members (or their next of kin or other personal representative) of the recognized Native American tribes who served in the Armed Forces as a code talker during any foreign conflict in which the United States was involved during the 20th century. Bronze duplicate medals are offered for sale to the public.
The sheer number of medals and the variety of designs makes this an intriguing series. The United States Mint has been working on the designs for quite some time. Articles on CoinUpdate.com have covered the design review phase for most of the medals. Refer to the eight separate articles found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
The final designs for the first 25 medals in the program are shown below. The US Mint is offering the 3-inch bronze medals featuring the designs for $39.95 each and the 1.5-inch bronze medals for $6.95 each.
Several of the medals have a shipping date of 6/27/2014 indicated.
Cheyenne River Sioux
Choctaw Nation Tribe
Comanche Nation Tribe
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribe
Muscogee Creek Nation
Ogala Sioux Tribe
Pueblo of Acoma Tribe
Santee Sioux Tribe
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Sioux) Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Tonto Apache Tribe
White Mountain Apache Tribe
Yankton Sioux Tribe