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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., started off the day celebrating the circulation of one of the new 2005 nickels with a bison named Cody, Native American dancers, and coin enthusiasts from around the nation.

The U.S. Mint and Enzi held a news conference to announce the new 5-cent coins will be heading to the nation's Federal Reserve Banks to begin circulation. Enzi spoke at the news conference.

"I have always believed that our currency and especially our coins are a great tool that we can use to teach all Americans about our shared past and remind us of our common heritage," said Enzi. "This nickel will accomplish both of those goals by its depiction of one of the most memorable and powerful symbols of the American West, the bison."

The American Bison nickel is the third design in the United States Mint's Westward Journey Nickel Series. In 2003 President Bush authorized the redesign of the nation's 5-cent coin for the first time since 1938 to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

"Of all our native animals the bison has a special significance in the story of our nation," said Enzi. "By restoring the bison image on the nickel we are helping to show that the bison is an enduring symbol of Native Americans, the Western heritage, and the will of the American people."

Enzi sponsored the Bison Nickel Restoration Act of 2004 which would extend the American 5-Cent Design Continuity Act of 2003 to require that one of the two new designs for the nickel temporarily feature an image of a bison. Shortly after, the U.S. Mint announced the bison image would adorn one of the new coins.

The bison featured at the news conference was born in Cody, Wyoming and is named after the city.