CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Because the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s touchdown approaches subsequent yr, there’s a rising push to vary the Massachusetts state flag due to its depiction of a Native American.
No less than 30 municipalities have endorsed a state invoice to take away and change the state’s flag and motto. Cambridge, the fifth largest metropolis within the state, went even additional — earlier this month metropolis council members labeled it “offensive” and permitted a proposal to take away the state flag from council chambers.
“I came upon that there’s a lot of images on the state flag that I did not truly know existed,” mentioned Massachusetts State Rep. Nika Elugardo, who is co-sponsoring the state decision to exchange the flag.
The flag encompasses a Native American holding a bow and arrow. Simply overhead is a disembodied arm with a sword. Surrounding the seal is the phrase “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem,” which roughly interprets from Latin to, “By the sword we search peace, however peace solely beneath liberty.”
Jean-Luc Pierite of the North American Indian Heart of Boston mentioned for indigenous folks, the imagery harkens again to pictures of a painful previous.
“Our group members are undoubtedly conscious of the imagery,” Pierite mentioned in an interview final month. “It is learn a sure means amongst Native People than it will be for the overall inhabitants.”
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The Native determine on the seal is claimed to symbolize the Wampanoag tribe chief Ousamequin, who signed the primary treaty between the tribe and the pilgrims in 1621, half of what’s celebrated on the Thanksgiving vacation.
Most objections aren’t with Ousamequin, however the arm and sword overhead. They’re mentioned to belong to Myles Standish, an English army officer who helped set up and safe the Plymouth colony.
“He represents the demise of native folks,” Hartman Deetz, a member of the Wampanoag tribe mentioned in an interview with WGBH. “He represents the specter of the sword, the specter of arms to implement the need and the place of colonists right here to have the ability to take from us our land and our dwelling.”
Standish, Deetz mentioned, terrorized the state’s natives after luring a person into his dwelling for a commerce deal after which killing him.
That is why Rep. Elugardo desires it gone.
“For many individuals throughout the Commonwealth and past on this area, that sword represents that story,” Elugardo mentioned. “Actually, it’s a part of our story and a part of our historical past, however to not be celebrated, to be remembered and to honor the useless.”
However the push is dealing with some backlash from individuals who really feel it is political correctness gone too far.
“They maintain altering issues as a result of persons are uncomfortable,” mentioned Karen Penrose, who works in Cambridge. “Persons are at all times uncomfortable with one thing. You may’t maintain altering the world due to what persons are pondering on a regular basis.”
Some additionally questioned the timing of the proposal.
“Why? I don’t see something flawed with (the flag) and from my workplace, I see it daily. I feel they should go away issues alone and discover one thing else higher to do, one thing constructive to do. There are higher issues that must be performed. In any case these years, why do this now?” Joyce Stanton, a state worker, informed the Boston Herald.
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Elugardo’s decision in its present type would name for a fee to be fashioned to provide you with a brand new flag and motto.
“It would convey Indigenous communities and lots of others throughout the commonwealth to find out what kind of flag and seal would actually finest symbolize the values of Massachusetts that all of us cherish and share,” Elugardo mentioned.
The decision comes following comparable proposals in Mississippi and Arkansas to take away Accomplice imagery from their flags.
The invoice is awaiting a listening to earlier than it may transfer ahead within the Massachusetts state legislature.
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“They’re the true natives of this nation,” mentioned resident Ron Williams. “And they should do one thing that does not really feel like they’re being disrespected as a nation.”