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House Dems Propose Changing Minnesota Flag To Reflect 'Shared History'

By Joseph Donovan, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Some members of the Democratic Party in the Minnesota House think it's time for the Minnesota state flag to get a redesign.

New legislation introduced this week would redesign the official seal in a way that "accurately and respectfully reflects Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities," according to the bill's text.

Redesigning the state seal would also mean updating the state flag.

House Democrats are moving forward with legislation to create a 14-person committee to recommend new designs for the seal and flag. It was approved on March 22 by the House State Government Finance and Elections committee, which consists of nine Democrats and five Republicans. The vote was on party lines.

"The state seal has imagery on it that is a problem," said Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley). The current state flag depicts a white farmer in the foreground. The farmer is plowing the land while a Native American is riding a horse away from the farmer towards a setting sun. Rep. Freiberg said, "In short, it includes offensive imagery that was designed without input from the communities it depicts."

Rep. Freiberg also added that the flag has a design problem.

"Minnesota's flag is virtually indistinguishable from approximately 20 other state flags," Freiberg said.

The push for a new flag design has been growing since at least 2017. Rep. Peter Fischer (DFL-Maplewood) said he first learned of the issue after having conversations with high schoolers who called for the flag to be modified.

The committee has not released any proposed alternatives for the redesign. However, the bill is modeled after the process used in Mississippi to update its flag. Mississippi's new flag was adopted in January 2021.

The bill does not currently have support by Republicans in the Senate. It is not expected to be considered during the current legislative session.

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