Commission meeting to review controversial Massachusetts seal, flag

Massachusetts News
The Massachusetts state flag flies in front of Boston City Hall on Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

The Massachusetts state flag flies in front of Boston City Hall on Monday, May 2, 2016. Native American groups in the state rallied in front of the State House in Boston on Thursday, July 16, 2020, to urge passage of legislation banning the use of Indian mascots and creating a commission to review the state’s seal and motto. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (AP) — A state commission tasked with reviewing and suggesting changes to Massachusetts’ seal and motto, which includes a controversial depiction of a Native American man, is meeting for the first time. The 19-member Special Commission Relative to the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth is gathering virtually Monday.

The emblem depicts a Native American man, a colonist’s arm brandishing a sword, and a Latin phrase that reads, in part, “By the sword we seek peace.”

The commission was created by lawmakers in 2020 law to investigate features of the official seal and motto that “may be unwittingly harmful” and recommend design changes. Members of the commission include Massachusetts tribe members as well as representatives for the state commission on Indian affairs, the state historical commission, and the state cultural council, among other agencies.

The panel has until October 1 to submit a revised or entirely new design for the seal and motto. Any design will be accompanied by an educational program.

Native American groups have long criticized the state seal as a “symbol of white supremacy” because it references the defeat of local tribes at the hands of English colonists during their bloody battles centuries ago.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download our news app

App Store Link
Google Play Link

Latest PODCAST episode

More PODCAST: On the Story with Trishna Begam

Click Below to set up your cable box


Latest COVID-19 News

More COVID-19

Cuomo Under Fire News

More Cuomo Under Fire