The 2023 Native American (Sacagawea) dollar reverse design features Maria Tallchief in balletic pose. Tallchief was America’s first major prima ballerina, and she and her husband, George Balanchine, transformed American classical ballet. In addition to Tallchief, four other American Indian ballerinas from Oklahoma achieved international recognition in the 20th century, including her younger sister Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, and Moscelyne Larkin. Celebrated as the “Five Moons,” their legacy of achievement and inclusion continues to influence ballet today.
A nod to the Five Moons is presented in the lunar motif, while the four ballerinas in the background are symbolic of both Tallchief’s American Indian ballerina contemporaries and the generations of dancers they inspired. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “MARIA TALLCHIEF,” “$1,” and “AMERICAN INDIANS IN BALLET.”