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Celebrate National Native American History Month

In 1990, Congress authorized November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Since 1995, presidents have issued annual proclamations to designate November as National Native American Heritage Month to celebrate the contributions of American Indian peoples and encourage Americans to learn more about American Indian history.

The U.S. Mint has been creating $1 Native American coins each year since 2009 as part of the Native American $1 Coin Program. As part of this program, the Mint has created many lessons related to American Indian contributions to American culture and history. Read on for ways you can explore the Native American history with the U.S. Mint this month.

Monthly Mint Trivia: In what year did the first Native American depiction appear on a U.S. circulating coin?

Check Answer


lessons that make cents main featureExpand your students’ understanding of the important contributions of Native American peoples, including their role in the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. Find lesson plans related to Native American history and additional Thanksgiving resources from the Mint. See lesson plans and additional Thanksgiving resources from the Mint.

Want more ideas? Reach out to education.outreach@usmint.treas.gov for recommendations on lesson plans and activities for your students.

Coin of the Month: 2018 Native American $1 Coin – Jim Thorpe

2018 native american $1 coin reverse and obverseThe 2018 Native American $1 Coin features Olympian and all-around athlete Jim Thorpe. James Francis “Jim” Thorpe (1888-1953), was born near Prague, Oklahoma, in what was then Indian Territory. Raised in the Sac and Fox tribe, he was given the native name Wa-Tho-Huk, meaning “Bright Path.” Jim Thorpe became possibly the most versatile natural athlete of the early 20th century. After a difficult youth, Thorpe came into his own at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He played football in college, winning a national collegiate championship.

In 1912, Thorpe represented the U.S. at the Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He competed in the new Pentathlon and Decathlon as well as two field events. He easily won both multi-event medals. His point record stood for two decades.

Thorpe then embarked on an incredibly varied career with the public flocking to his professional appearances in football, baseball, and basketball. He played for six teams in what later became the National Football League. In baseball, he played for the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Boston Braves. He also organized an all-Indian football team. Today, sports writers rank him at the top of their lists of greatest athletes of the 20th century.

Hoop and Darts Game

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Students can challenge each other while learning the traditional Native American game “hoop and darts.”


Code Talkers

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Share the incredible story of the Native American Code Talkers, who valiantly served our country by secretly communicating using tribal languages during World War I and II.


New Coloring Pages

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Let your students show their creativity with Native American $1 Coin and newly added American Innovation™ $1 Coin coloring pages.


We Want to Hear from You!

2019 Coin Coloring Book Lessons that Make Cents iconAre you interested in incorporating coins into your classroom next year, but aren’t sure where to start? Let us help you! The U.S. Mint offers K-12 lesson plans, 12 online educational games, 100+ videos, online quizzes, a free 2020 Coin Coloring Book PDF, and other resources. Reach out to us at education.outreach@usmint.treas.gov to request resources that fit your education needs.

Trivia Answer: The first Native American was depicted on a U.S. circulating coin in 1913 on the “Buffalo” nickel.

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