Posted on December 18, 2023

Minnesota Edges Close to Picking New State Flag to Replace Design Offensive to Native Americans

Steve Karnowski, Associated Press, December 15, 2023

A state commission selected a basic design concept Friday for a new state flag for Minnesota to replace a current banner that is considered offensive to Native Americans, but will need more time to add the finishing touches.

The final choice came down to two templates. The panel went with one bearing a stylized dark blue shape of Minnesota on the left with an eight-pointed white North Star on it, then either horizontal stripes or a solid field on the right.

The commission then decided to consider variants on that theme when it reconvenes Tuesday, including an asymmetrical Minnesota that looks more like the state’s actual shape, and either a solid light blue field on the right, or adding a green stripe along the bottom to symbolize the state’s agricultural heritage.


None of the designs that made it to the final round generated a surge of public enthusiasm beforehand. Fitch acknowledged that as he urged his colleagues to think about what design might be accepted by future generations.

“We’re not going to be able to make everybody happy,” Fitch said. “The whole idea since Day One for me was to make sure that we can do a flag that unites us, not separates us.”

Minnesota’s current flag includes the state seal against a blue background. The seal depicts a Native American riding off into the sunset while a white settler plows his field with his rifle leaning on a nearby stump. The imagery suggests to many that the Indigenous people were defeated and going away, while whites won and were staying.

Not only do the state’s Dakota and Ojibwe tribes consider that offensive, but experts in the scientific and scholarly study of flags — known as vexillology — say it’s an overly complicated design.