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Minnesota Commission Advances Redesign of State Flag Amid Native American Concerns

Minnesota’s state commission has taken a significant step toward choosing a new design for the state flag.

Offensiveness to Native Americans

Native Americans play music on the street of Milan — Photo by surkovdimitri

The state is aiming to replace the existing one, which has been criticized for its offensiveness to Native Americans.

While a basic design concept has been selected, further refinements are under consideration.

After careful consideration, the commission narrowed down the options to two final design templates.

Two Final Design Templates

Credits: DepositPhotos

One features a stylized dark blue shape of Minnesota with an eight-pointed white North Star on the left side and horizontal stripes or a solid field on the right. The other design highlights curving “swooshes” representing the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, set against a dark blue background with a North Star in the upper left corner.

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Considering Variations

Credits: DepositPhotos

The commission decided to explore variations of the selected design concept, including an asymmetrical Minnesota shape and the possibility of a solid light blue field on the right or the addition of a green stripe to symbolize the state’s agricultural heritage. These options will be reviewed in the coming days.

Seeking Public Input

Credits: DepositPhotos

Commission Chair Luis Fitch emphasized the importance of allowing time for these design variations to “marinate” and welcomed input from the public and the people of Minnesota. Public opinion will play a crucial role in determining the final flag design.

Unity Over Division

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Fitch acknowledged that creating a universally accepted flag design is challenging, but the goal remains to unite rather than divide. The commission aims to craft a flag that resonates with future generations and fosters unity among Minnesotans.

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Current Flag’s Controversy

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Minnesota’s existing flag features the state seal against a blue background, depicting a scene that many find offensive. It shows a Native American riding into the sunset while a white settler plows his field, symbolizing the triumph of whites over Indigenous people. This imagery is deemed offensive by the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes.

Guidelines for a New Design

Credits: DepositPhotos

Experts in vexillology, the study of flags, recommend simple and meaningful designs with minimal colors, easy recognition from a distance, and no seals or lettering. Minnesota’s current flag ranks poorly in these criteria.

April 1, 2024, Deadline

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The commission, comprising members from the state’s tribal and diverse communities, is tasked with producing new flag and seal designs by January 1. Unless rejected by the Legislature, these emblems will become official on April 1, 2024, Minnesota’s Statehood Day.

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Joining Other States

Credits: DepositPhotos

Minnesota joins several other states in the effort to redesign outdated flags. Utah recently approved a simplified flag design, while Mississippi replaced a Confederate-themed flag with a new design.

More States May Join Soons

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Other states, including Maine, Michigan, and Illinois, are also considering flag simplification.

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