What if someone like Sequoyah replaced Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?

10 Natives Who Should Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill


In 2012, we spotlighted Andrew Jackson as our top pick for worst U.S. president—because he earned his “Indian Killer” nickname. He was a major proponent of Indian removal, his first effort was waging a war against the Creeks. The Creeks lost 23 million acres of land in Georgia and Alabama, paving the way for cotton plantation slavery.

RELATED: Indian-Killer Andrew Jackson Deserves Top Spot on List of Worst U.S. Presidents

He would recommend that troops systematically kill women and children to complete the extermination of Indigenous Peoples. In 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act, which legalized ethnic cleansing. Within seven years 46,000 indigenous people were removed from their homelands east of the Mississippi. Their removal gave 25 million acres of land “to white settlement and to slavery,” according to PBS. The area was home to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations. In the Trail of Tears alone, 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.

So why would this country pay homage to such a man on its currency. Jackson has graced the $20 bill since 1929, replacing 24th President Grover Cleveland.

RELATED: Kick Andrew Jackson Off the $20 Bill

So we’ve compiled a list of just 10 Natives who could take Jackson’s place on the $20 bill. Who do you think it should be?

Sequoyah, born in Tennessee sometime between 1760 and 1780, was a skilled blacksmith, silversmith and engraver who wanted a way to sign his name on his work. By 1809, he was working on a written syllabary—or a symbol for every Cherokee word. He soon turned to phonetic symbols that represented the 85 distinct syllables in the Native language.


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Excellent choice! I would also recommend: A. Crazy Horse B. Sitting Bull C. Geronimo D. Chief Joseph E. Cochise F. Quanah Parker G. Ohiyesa H. Po'Pay I. Black Elk J. Hiawatha K. Pocahontas L. Sacajawea M. Red Cloud N. Pontiac O. and last, but not least, Will Rogers American history thrives on lies. To the conqueror go the spoils and those spoils include how your history is perceived. Rather than admit fault in those instances that proves their lofty words are worthless, the White educational system refuses to teach reality.

bigindin702's picture
Submitted by bigindin702 on
I like the recommendations; however, I would not recommend Crazy Horse simply because one of the wishes of Crazy Horse was not to have a facsimile of his image produced. And yes, I am against Crazy Horse monument. How would he feel if he knew that his sacred Black Hills are being scarred in homage of him.

MarthaDC's picture
Submitted by MarthaDC on
Joseph Oklatombi, a Choctaw, is the most decorated WWI veteran of Oklahoma. He was a code talker in France and joined the Army when Choctaws were not yet recognized as citizens.

vhawkins's picture
Submitted by vhawkins on
What about Weatherford, a leader of the Creek Red Sticks, whom Jackson's men killed @ 1813? Don't know is a picture of him exists, though. Maybe Tecumseh (Shawnee)? How 'bout Jim Thorpe (Sac & Fox)? But I love the idea of Sequoyah. But the most likely choice to be accepted would be Will Rogers. He actually talked to presidents, and not just because he was singled out as the man who could be bought and counted on to sell some land. All the men mentioned above were from tribes forcibly removed during the removal era. Maybe one of the Chickasaw Colbert's, George maybe? Or Muriel Wright, well known Oklahoma historian and writer, whose grandpa had been a Principle Chief of the Choctaw. He was the man that proposed the state I live in be called "Oklahoma" -- or better yet her grandpa Allen Wright? Osceola (Seminole), would also be a good choice. Lone Wolf, Satanta, or Satank (all Kiowa), Clermont (Osage), Ten Bears (Comanche) Jessee Chisholm (Cherokee), for whom the Chisholm Trail was named. Geronimo (Apache)who spent his last 20 years here, and is still buried here in the Indian cemetery at Fort Sill. Oh there are so many, and I am just thinking of those in Oklahoma. Will Rogers also said he had just enough White blood to question his honesty (paraphrasing) so you can't rely on my opinion either -- I'm whiter 'n he was!

Lee Lewis
Submitted by Lee Lewis on
I made a very similar graphic using the $1 bill. I am not sure if I can post it here. This may work if you have FaceBook. I am not sure ... https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1.0-9/1904047_10152051243388041_1683652993_n.jpg

kopczyn's picture
Submitted by kopczyn on
USA will not be ready for another century to put any American Native warrior or active defender of their liberties on any dollar bill. From the other side Native US veterans are too contradictory to the Native warriors. Who needs or wants wars? It is time to replace it with civil, economical, educational and diplomatic effort. But Sequoyah is the great personage to replace that "small hitler" on 20 dollar note.

Jeff Fortney
Jeff Fortney
Submitted by Jeff Fortney on
Love the idea of replacing Andrew Jackson, but I disagree with most of the choices here (minus Sequoyah and Tecumseh) for the reason that they are predicated upon war accomplishments. I think this advances the false narrative that 1. the only way to resist American colonialism was through picking up a gun and 2. Warfare is the most important element of Native American culture. Both ideas are clearly problematic. My suggestions would include Robert M. Jones or James McDonald (Choctaw) for lifelong legislative/legal resistance, Sarah Winnemucca (Paiute) or Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee) for defense of tribal values and the overlooked importance of Native women (historic and current), or perhaps Vine Deloria for brilliant manifestos. My two cents.

Tina L Bittner
Tina L Bittner
Submitted by Tina L Bittner on
All good choices and there are so many more than 10....I would have to pick Osceola since my paternal grandma was full blooded Seminole.

ReneeH's picture
Submitted by ReneeH on
How about Chief Posey? Hmm? He was considered one of the last remaining chiefs who didn't surrender. Don't even consider Chief Ouray that man gave more to the WM of land and resources instead to his own people. I don't agree with Geronimo, that man should be honored in other ways instead of a twenty dollar bill. In reality, out of these men, which one would really want to be on paper money? A majority of them fought against the symbolism of monetary gain and the white man greed.

Juliet's picture
Submitted by Juliet on
Sequoyah or Aiionwatha (use this spelling, or people will think of Longfellow's poem) wouldn't unnerve whites very much, and provide the lever to introduce the remainder of this nation's history into school curricula.

Mojaverat's picture
Submitted by Mojaverat on
Fredrick Douglas should also be put on a bill too, this brother is very important to American history. He was a former slave who beat the crap out of his master. haha

Roger Griggs
Roger Griggs
Submitted by Roger Griggs on
none of my ancestors would have wanted to be on the money of the humans

Barbara Blackdeer-Mackenzie
Barbara Blackde...
Submitted by Barbara Blackde... on
I would also recommend any of the US tribal nation code talkers (even if it is a general representation of them) and Princess Kaiulani, Native Hawaii's last sovereign monarch.

Joacim Blomqvist
Joacim Blomqvist
Submitted by Joacim Blomqvist on
What about Victorios sister Lozen that was Gerominos weapon sister?

Joseph Coté
Joseph Coté
Submitted by Joseph Coté on
Jackson was a mass murdering bigot. Why we have this fool's picture on our currency is as equally confusing as to why we celebrate "Columbus Day". Another mass murdering, greedy white man who slaughtered and/or enslaved an entire race of people. There have already been many great Native Americans noted and I agree: Great Chief Crazy Horse, Chief Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, Sacajawea. Certainly, Joseph Oklatombi should be considered and, literally THOUSANDS of Natives that have made fabulous contributions to the Nation, as well as being great leaders and inspirations to the Indian Tribes. But, by all means, Jackson is an insult to all tribes and those of us that support them in body and spirit.

Winston Null
Winston Null
Submitted by Winston Null on
I have absolutely no issue with replacing Jackson. Several Choices here are very shortsided or poor. Quannah Parker would very much be a great choice . Fierce Warrior & leader who was just as much a real leader after surrender. Captain Jack was pretty treacherous and not a very good choice all. I would also challenge Geronimo as his thirst for blood & resistance was actually very harmful to his people and actually self trumped his peoples needs. Manuelleto of the Navajo would be much better. How on earth can several of these men be suggested ahead of Black Kettle ? If I had a vote it would be Chief Joseph. He did every single thing in his power to avoid conflict. When absolutely pushed to it he did fight with honor. He spared innocent lives. He exhibited storied tactics in evading pursuit, fighting unreal retreat battle tactics. To the moment of his surrender he thought of nothing but his peoples welfare and even after. Crazy Horse did not have some repulsion to being photographed, that is just romanticizing the fact he never was.He was a shirtwearer. A high honor with the whole tribe's welfare put above his. He was a fierce war leader and he truly loved his people and was murdered in the end. As an icon he is fitting but more so as a great example of a true leader as the men above.

Marc Carter
Marc Carter
Submitted by Marc Carter on
I would love for Sequoyah to be on the 20 dollar bill. My Cherokee blood is the only blood I am proud to have.

Sonja Kattermann Lloyd
Sonja Katterman...
Submitted by Sonja Katterman... on
These are all good choices but the whole poll is about Females having a chance to be on the same playing fields as Men. Our Society has been male dominated and this mentality has made its way into Indian Country too. The thing is there are a lot of great Native American Women of our past that deserves to be on a currency that is not some coin no one uses. Having Wilma Mankiller would be a poetic justice.