Lewis & Clark Expedition Returns to the Northwest

The story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition has special significance to all of us in Portland and Vancouver. On March 20th, the mint released the latest Native American $1 One Dollar  Coin, commonly known as the “Sacagawea,” honoring Lewis and Clark’s journey through the Northwest Quadrant.

The Corps of Discovery as it was known departed their camp near St. Louis, Missouri. Their journey through the Northwest Quadrant, began in the Shoshone tribe territory, in what is now Idaho. The expedition’s trek through the unexplored territory ended at Fort Clatsop, which is 4.5 miles South of modern-day Astoria, Oregon. The goal of the expedition was to find a more easily navigable route through the Northwest. The expedition traveled through the lower Columbia, including what is now Portland. The explorers found bustling native tribes throughout the region and their help was integral in both getting the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific, and then surviving the subsequent winter at Fort Clatsop.

The Sacagawea coin was designed by renowned American sculptor, Glenna Goodacre. Every year since 2009, the mint has released a different design honoring Native Americans for their role in helping to establish the United States. Each release features Sacagawea, holding her baby, on the obverse side and a unique design on the reverse.

Before joining the Lewis and Clark expedition crew, Sacagawea had been enslaved by warring tribes, and was traded as a “wife” to a fur trader. As a result, her knowledge of the uncharted terrain the crew faced, and her ability to speak English and different tribal languages, was crucial to the expedition’s survival.

The reverse side of the 2014 Native American $1 One Dollar Coin depicts a compass pointing northwest, to signify Lewis and Clark’s journey through the unexplored Northwest. In front of the compass is a Native American man seen offering a pipe, as well as a Native American woman offering fish, roots, corn, and gourds. Designer, Chris Costello, based his idea on the theme, “Native Hospitality Ensured the Success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

With the release of the newest Sacagawea the mint not only honors our local native tribes but reminds us of our humble beginnings. Our colorful history has long been preserved in coinage and currency and we have plenty of examples to show you in our Portland and Vancouver stores. Stop by. We’d love to chat.

Liberty Coin & Currency specializes in rare coins and currency. We are a family-owned business located in Portland and Vancouver. We also buy gold, silver, diamonds, and jewelry. Visit us first for a free evaluation.