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Minnesota panel chooses new state flag featuring North Star to replace old flag seen as racist

Minnesota's new state flag should feature an eight-pointed North Star on a dark blue background in the state's shape, with a plain field of light blue on the right side, a special committee decided Tuesday. They chose an alternative to the older design used by many Native Americans. It is considered offensive.

After finalizing the new state seal depicting the state bird, the loon, the Seal Redesign Committee selected the final version by an 11-1 vote.

Unless Congress vetoes them, the new flag and coat of arms will automatically become official on April 1, 2024, when Minnesota celebrates Inauguration Day.

The star reflects Minnesota's state motto, “Star of the North.” Commission Chairman Louis Fitch said that to him, the light blue represents the Mississippi River, “the most important river in the United States,” and points to the North Star.

But he acknowledged it could mean something different to other people. The symmetry and simplicity were superior to other versions, which included a green stripe to mark the state's agricultural heritage.

The new flag is a revised version of a design submitted by Luverne resident Andrew Plecker, 24, who said he was surprised and grateful for the “rare privilege” of being able to contribute to the state's history.

The new flag proposal features two different shades of blue and a white star that reflects Minnesota's state motto, “North Star.” AP
Minnesota Flag Commission Chairman Louis Fitch is adjusting his board based on some of the final designs. AP

“This is an achievement that I hope will bring a lot of unity and pride to our land, and I will hold this fact as a great honor for the rest of my life,” Plecker said in a statement read to the committee. “My greatest hope is that this new flag will finally adequately represent our state and all of its people, and all of our people from all backgrounds, including historically excluded Indigenous communities and tribal nations. That Minnesotans can look up at our flag with a feeling of “pride and honor and see themselves in it.” ”

of minnesota The current national flag was established in 1957. Updated from the 1893 original. For that, Current status sticker, Slightly modified from the 1858 original, it depicts Native Americans riding off into the sunset while white settlers plow a field with their rifles propped up on nearby stumps. .

Critics argue that the footage suggests that indigenous peoples were defeated and left, while whites won and remained.

The state's 11 recognized Dakota and Ojibwa tribes consider the previous design offensive. And experts in the study of flags, known as vexillology, say it's too complicated and ideally children should be able to draw state flags.

Critics argue that the current image on the flag suggests that white people have won and stayed, while indigenous peoples have been defeated and left. AP

of North American Veterinary Association The old Minnesota flag ranks 67th out of 72 state and provincial flags in the United States and Canada. Fitch said the group's experts rated the final selection “A-plus.”

Committee That included members of the state's tribes and other communities of color.

It settled on a new seal last week featuring a loon and the name of Minnesota's Dakota state, “Muni Sota Makose.” This can be translated as “the place where water and sky meet.” On Tuesday, commissioners voted to increase the number of gold bars placed on the rim from 87, one for each county, to 98, including 11 tribes.

It remains to be seen whether the new flag and emblem will be the symbol of unity that supporters hope for.

Commission members Aaron Wittnabel and Chairman Louis Fitch look over a color chart at the start of a recent session to narrow down their choices for the new national flag, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. AP

The committee's two nonvoting Republicans, Rep. Bjorn Olson and Sen. Steve Drakowski, plan to submit a minority report to Congress.

Olson said he believes the chosen emblem violates the statute that created the commission that is supposed to choose a uniform symbol. Drakowski said having Dakota's name on the seal “elevates one race above all the races in Minnesota.”

Olson also said the process was rushed and Minnesotans should vote on both the flag and the national emblem next November.

The new flag is a revised version of a design submitted by Luverne resident Andrew Plecker, 24, who said he was surprised and grateful for the “rare privilege” of being able to contribute to the state's history. AP

But Secretary of State Steve Simon, a voting Democrat, said his office had reviewed the issue and found that “Minnesota law does not allow for statewide initiatives or referendums, so such a vote would be unconstitutional.” “We have come to the “tentative conclusion'' that there is,'' he said.

as well as some other states Redesigned outdated flag.

of The Utah Legislature approved it last winter. Although the design is simplified, it depicts a beehive, a symbol of the prosperity and hard work of Mormon pioneers.

As the committee discussed choosing a new flag, committee member Aaron Wittnabel threw his hands in the air. AP

Mississippi voters in 2020 chose a new flag featuring a magnolia to replace a Confederate-themed flag that was widely condemned as racist.

Other states considering simplifying their flags include Michigan; Voters in Illinois and Maine will decide next year whether to replace the current banners with retro versions featuring a simple pine tree and a blue North Star.

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