spark her imagination, Glenna Goodacre, the sculptor who
designed the Sacagawea image on the Golden Dollar, used
a real person, Randy'L He-dow Teton.
He-Dow Teton Inspired the Coin's Design
Meet Randy'L He-dow Teton. She's the mysterious
face behind the Golden Dollar.
In 1998, the University of New Mexico college
student, then 22, spent an afternoon modeling for sculptor
Goodacre. It was just a couple of hours, but it really paid
During the session, it didn't seem like anything
would result. But a few weeks later, Goodacre called with
big news: "We got it!"
Teton says, "It was hard to comprehend.
I was so startled, I called my family, but no one believed
I would be on the new dollar coin. No one even knew about
the Sacagawea coin."
Randy'L He-dow Teton,
Goodacre's model for the new Golden Dollar coin, poses
beside an enlargement of the obverse image.
How did Teton and Goodacre meet? Let's go
back to the start. It's 1998 and the U.S. Mint has invited
New Mexico sculptor Goodacre to submit designs for the new
dollar coin. But sculptors can't sculpt out of thin air!
Goodacre needs a model. So she travels to the Institute
of American Indian Arts Museum (IAIA), in Santa Fe, NM.
There, she asks at the front desk if they
know any young Shoshone women in the area. She's in luck.
Teton's mother, who works at the museum, shows Goodacre
pictures of her three daughters. That very night, Goodacre
contacts Teton in Albuquerque.
Modeling wasn't easy, recalls Teton. "Pose
this way, hold your head that way, point, stand up, turn
your head..." The instructions went on and on. "I
had to hold poses for a long time without breathing,"
she says. "I was glad when it was all over."
Teton is proud about modeling for the Golden
Dollar. What does she like about the Golden Dollar image?
"Its strength, gracefulness, and humbleness. The dignity
in her eyes." she says, "To me, the image doesn't
represent me, it represents all Native American women. All
women have the dignity of the Golden Dollar's image."
Both at her college and back home at Idaho's
Fort Hall Indian Reservation, where she grew up, everyone
knows Teton is the Golden Dollar face. She receives so many
questions about the coin and modeling for it, that she's
even set up her own informational Web page.
By modeling, Teton carved a unique spot for
herself. As the Golden Dollar coin takes its place in history,
so will she.