Minnesota Replaces ‘Racist’ State Flag Picturing a Native American

Minnesota has replaced its state flag following criticism that the previous one contained a negative depiction of Native Americans. The State Emblems Redesign Commission describes the new flag as featuring a white North star on a dark blue shape of Minnesota, with a lighter blue background representing bodies of water. Andrew Prekker, an artist and native of the North Star State, designed the new flag and said, “It’s such a rare privilege to be able to contribute to our state’s history in such a special way like this.”

Commission chairman Luis Fitch said he hopes the new symbolism will bring Minnesota together. “My goal is to unite with this flag, not to separate us more,” he said.

Calls for the flag to change date back to the 1960s, and last May, the state’s legislature passed a bill to have it redesigned. The previous flag depicted a Native American on horseback and a farmer plowing land, which some people believe amounted to a celebration of Native American displacement.

Minnesota joins several other states in deciding to redesign its state flag, including Utah, where a law was passed last May for the flag to be replaced. Governor Spencer Cox signed the legislation but said the old flag would still be displayed on special occasions. The move came after a survey of residents found that most people felt the flag did not represent them. It featured a bald eagle and two dates – when Mormon pioneers first arrived and when Utah became the 45th state.

Also in 2023, the Illinois state government established a committee to review and redesign its flag. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill for the committee to explore whether a new banner would better represent the state and its history.

Mississippi changed its state banner in 2021 because the previous design included the Confederate flag, and last March, lawmakers in Michigan proposed a review, citing Utah’s new flag and calling for a unique design.