Imagining America: Native American Icons and National Identity on Early American Coins
with Dr. Peter Dunham
Friday, May 31, 2019 | 5:30 pm
Money is not just a medium of exchange but also a vehicle for transmitting ethnic and political messages. The imagery on currency is often employed to help build national identities. In the wake of independence, depictions of Native Americans were frequently used on coins throughout the Americas to distinguish emerging national identities from those of former imperial overlords. Dr. Dunham examine several illuminating examples, from the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. When constructing their initial sovereign images, these newly minted countries all turned to the one thing that fully differentiated them from their prior European masters: their indigenous American heritage. He will explore how different nations experiencing the birth throes of decolonization, from both England and Spain, utilized similar symbolic strategies on coinage and other media to aid in forging their separate national identities.