New Minnesota state flag, seal submissions to be narrowed to top 5 next week

Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 7:11 PM CST
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Valley News Live) - Minnesota leaders tasked residents with helping reimagine the state’s flag and seal, and they received ideas in abundance — 2,123 flag designs and 398 seal submissions, all tolled.

The State Emblems Redesign Commission (SERC) put out the call for submissions throughout the month of October, and unveiled the finalists earlier this month. Now, the SERC says they plan to meet Tuesday to narrow down the surfeit to the top five candidates in each category.

The meeting is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m., but will be extended if necessary to hash out the finalists.

SERC earlier said its members would pick their top 25 choices for the new flag and seal by mid-November, but the commission as a whole must pick the five finalists, with residents also able to provide their feedback on those.

Among the designs in the pool of hopefuls, there’s no shortage of the state’s most precious resource: water. Another common theme across the board: loons, the official state bird.

Several designs showcased Minnesota’s well-known icons and pastimes, like enjoying a hot bowl of tater-tot hotdish; letting out a hearty “uff da” after a long day; and, of course, the great game of hockey.

Eighty-five percent of the submissions were for the flag, and the remaining 15% were for the seal, so the odds of making the top five for the latter are a great deal better.

Proponents of the change say the main image on the current flag, first flown in 1957, and the seal, adopted in 1861, is offensive. It shows a White settler tilling the land, as a Native American on horseback rides off into the distance.

Critics also say the flag’s design also violates “good flag design” tenets, which value simplicity and symbols rich with meaning.

According to state statute, the new designs “must accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota’s shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities.” However, “symbols, emblems, or likenesses that represent only a single community or person, regardless of whether real or stylized, may not be included in a design.”

SERC has to submit a report with the new designs to the state legislature by Jan. 1, 2024, and they will be officially adopted by Statehood Day, which is May 11.