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Historic First Coins Issued by Native Americans
The United States has issued many coins featuring native American Indians, ranging from the famous Indian Head Cent (1858-1909) to the Indian Ten Dollar Gold Piece (1907-1933) … the Oregon Trail Memorial Half Dollar (1926-1939) to the Buffalo Silver Dollar (2001) commemoratives. Now the Indians have turned the tables … and have issued their own coins. The Sovereign Nation of the Shawnee Tribe (Oklahoma), recognized by the United States under the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, has authorized these historic first coins.

The Shawnee hero - Chief Tecumseh - is featured on these Silver Dollars. The coat of arms on the reverse contains 12 stars, representing the original 12 tribes of the Shawnee Indian Nation; the four tribes that survived were known to the white settlers as Mequachake, Chillicothe, Kiskapoke and the Piqua.

These 1 oz. pure silver, 39 mm. Silver Dollars are available at the official issue prices of $19.95 for Brilliant Uncirculated coins (limited to 50,000) and $39.95 for Proof pieces (limited to 20,000). Orders should be sent to the official distributor PandaAmerica, 3460 Torrance Blvd., Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503; telephone (800) 472-6327; e-mail info@pandaamerica.com. Click here to shop online.

Tecumseh (1768 - 1813) was a Shawnee warrior chief who with his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, attempted to stop the advance of white settlement in the Old Northwest. On the night when Tecumseh was born, there was an incredible meteor shower. The elders in the tribe took this to be an omen, and pronounced that this baby would go on to be a great leader, which he did. Chief Tecumseh would always be introduced at tribal councils as "Born under the sign of the Shooting Star."

Tecumseh believed that Indians must return to a state of purity, that they must forget intertribal rivalries and confederate, and that individual tribes must not sell land that all Indians held in common. He also gave this version of the Golden Rule: "Trouble no one about his religion ... respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours..."

In 1809 tribes in the Indiana Territory ceded much of their land to the United States. Tecumseh protested to Gov. William Henry Harrison but in vain. He later joined the British against the Americans in the War of 1812. As a brigadier general, Tecumseh led 2,000 warriors. He fought at Frenchtown, Raisin River, Fort Meigs, and Fort Stephenson. His last battle was the Battle of the Thames at Chatham, Ontario, where, clothed in Indian deerskin garments, he was killed leading his warriors.

Prepared by Mel Wacks


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