Open Thread: Racism Reissued! “The Last $5 Indian Ever”

By Thea Lim

First the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves refuse to move forward into ahem, postracial America and change their team names, and now The National Collector’s Mint is cheerfully moving backwards.

coin

The National Collector’s Mint announces the private reproduction minting of the last $5 Indian Head Gold Piece ever minted by the U.S. Government. When President Theodore Roosevelt called for a new $5 gold coin design in 1908, few imagined the daring, innovative masterpiece that designer Bela Lyon Pratt would ultimately produce…It’s the rare 1929 $5 Indian Head gold piece recreated as a privately minted 24 KT Pure Gold Plated Proof. Designer Bela Lyon Pratt’s portrait of a strong Indian brave in war bonnet is incused into the gleaming obverse, along with 13 stars and the motto LIBERTY. On the reverse, the gleaming majestic eagle grasps an olive branch, symbolizing peace, against a frosted field.

Or maybe this is a perfect example of the delusion that characterises “post-raciality” – where we fetishise a culture of colour while denying actual members of that culture personhood. Like how this coin fetishises Native culture while North America continually denies both our genocidal history and Native land rights.

Peace against a frosted field my ass!