Showing posts with label state seal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label state seal. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Boston Globe: "What should be on the Massachusetts state flag? Readers weigh in"

"Massachusetts is reexamining its state seal and motto — and by extension the state flag — after a special commission voted unanimously in May to recommend replacing both. The decision was seen as a win for activists and members of the state’s Indigenous population, who have long objected to the current image, which depicts a Native American man standing before a blue shield, a bow in one hand and a downward pointing arrow in the other. Above him is a broadsword brandished by an upraised arm; below him is the Latin motto, which translates to “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.”

But as reported in August, divisions still existed among the 19-member volunteer commission. One Indigenous member said he regretted his vote and worried that an important piece of history would be lost should the state seal be replaced."

Continue reading the Boston Globe article online (subscription may be required)

Boston Globe: "What should be on the Massachusetts state flag? Readers weigh in"
Boston Globe: "What should be on the Massachusetts state flag? Readers weigh in"

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Change the Mass Flag information session - 06/21/22 (audio)

FM #819 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 819 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the information session held at the Franklin Public Library on the possible change to the Commonwealth of MA seal and flag. The session was held Tuesday, June 21, 2022.  

Kathleen Trefethen, a local supporter of the Change the Mass Flag movement  introduces organization founder David Detmold who then walks through a few slides depicting some of the changes to the seal & flag over the years before 1898. The current image has not changed since then. 

The information session runs about 57 minutes. Let’s listen to the discussion and some of the pros/cons on this topic.

Audio file ->


PDF of information sheet 

Change the MA Flag web page - 

Change the MA Flag - history 

A copy of the flyer for the event at the Library: 

There is a formal commission to make recommendations that coincidentally met earlier on Tuesday. The recording of that is available -> 

Alan Earl’s Franklin Observer recap of the session 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

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Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

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If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

current state seal/flag image and origination of elements it contains
current state seal/flag image and origination of elements it contains

David Detmold with one version of the seal/flag
David Detmold with one version of the seal/flag

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Change the Mass Flag informational meeting scheduled for Jun 21 - 7 PM

Join us at a Change the Mass Flag informational meeting being led by David Detmold at 7 PM on June 21, 2022 at the Franklin Public Library.  

Steve Derdiarian and I, both Franklin residents, will be joining David as we work toward adoption of a Resolution Supporting changes to the commonwealth of Massachusetts Flag, Seal, and Motto, by the Franklin Town Council.

We are currently preparing to present this Resolution in Support of Changing the MA Flag to Franklin Town Council by providing education about the history of the development of the current Flag, Seal, and Motto, and of the efforts to create a flag and seal that stands for peace, justice, equality, and inclusion.    We are also acquiring Franklin resident signatures on a petition in support of the changes.  

Below are websites that provide more background information: 


Thank you, 

Kathy Trefethen  781-789-9974

Stephen Derdiarian 

Download a copy of the flyer for the event at the Library:

Note: there is a Special Commission chartered at the state level to do this. they have a virtual hearing June 7th

Commonwealth of MA state seal
Commonwealth of MA state seal

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Boston Globe: Ghost kitchens, Seal update (or lack thereof)

"Boston parking lots are turning into ‘ghost kitchen’ delivery hubs"

"The first time DoorDash delivery driver Rey Reyes arrived to pick up an order from a restaurant named Fuku in South Boston, he was surprised to find a large trailer in the back of a parking lot.

He was waiting on a spicy fried chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries, but the trailer was also serving up boneless wings from Wings & Things, vegetable dumplings from Wow Bao, or grilled cheese from MrBeast Burger.

All from the same commercial kitchen inside the trailer, at the same address, and with no actual restaurant in sight."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

"Nearly a year later, panel rethinking Massachusetts’ state seal is behind schedule and still shorthanded"
"Since its creation 46 weeks ago, a state commission tasked with recommending changes to Massachusetts’ controversial state seal has met twice. It remains short one appointee, and a state legislator has argued it needs a staff and a budget, neither of which exists. A deadline to submit a report came and went nearly two months ago.

The product of decades of advocacy, the Special Commission Relative to the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth has been bogged down by Beacon Hill’s familiar morass of bureaucratic hurdles, all while its members wrestle with lingering questions over its mission.

The circumstances have complicated not just when the panel will produce a new vision for Massachusetts’ official symbol but exactly what it will deliver."

Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

The Massachusetts State flag with the state seal flies in front of the State House.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF
The Massachusetts State flag with the state seal flies in front of the State House.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Senate Approves Commission to Revise or Redesign Massachusetts Seal and Motto

The Massachusetts State Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would establish a commission to study and redesign the Massachusetts state seal and motto in an effort to make it more inclusive and historically representational. 

The legislation, Resolve establishing a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the commonwealth (S.1877), will create a commission to study the state seal. Many people, particularly members of Native American communities, find the seal offensive and unwittingly harmful, and others feel it perpetuates a misunderstanding of indigenous culture and history. The commission will be tasked with making recommendations for a revised or new seal and motto for the state. The state seal and motto are featured on the Massachusetts flag and other official insignia.

"This bill provides a chance to begin a conversation about our history and reimagine what a truly inclusive state seal and motto can look like," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "The Senate will never waiver on its commitment to making our Commonwealth welcoming for all, and so I am proud to see this proposal for a commission to study our seal and motto move forward. I would like to extend my gratitude to the many advocates who have continued to raise this issue, and to Senators Lewis and Comerford for their work and collaboration on this issue."

"COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter demonstrate that the social issues of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are entwined as the collective challenge to social structures solidifies," said Jean-Luc Pierite, President of the North American Indian Center of Boston and a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. "Today's vote in the Massachusetts Senate affirms that we can reconcile the identity of social systems while advocating and establishing needed change."

"Our collective symbols of identity matter, and if they marginalize some of our fellow residents and perpetuate harmful stereotypes, they should be replaced," said Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Education and lead sponsor of the resolve. "I want to thank former Representative Byron Rushing, former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs John 'Slow Turtle' Peters, and many other Native advocates and allies for championing this legislation for many years."

"Symbols have weight. They have meaning. It's been encouraging to see Confederate symbols coming down across the nation, and yet we in Massachusetts continue to display a symbol that for many expresses the subjugation of Native Americans through violence," said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), a lead sponsor of the legislation. "By passing this legislation, the State Senate is now on the right side of history. Thank you to Senator Jason Lewis, the Senate President, and all of the organizers and towns that have held us accountable. Today, 400 years since the first European Settlement, we have joined together to reject racism, discrimination, and injustice, and in doing so, opened the door to a transformative path forward."

The current state seal, adopted in 1898, prominently features a Native American figure. Historical records show that figure is a composite based on a portrait of a Native American chief from the Chippewa tribe —which is primarily located in Montana and the Dakotas, not Massachusetts. Above his head is an arm holding a colonial-era broadsword believed to be the sword of Myles Standish, a Plymouth Colony military commander known in part for killing Native Americans. The Native American holds a downward pointed arrow that has been interpreted as signifying the pacification of the native population.

Indigenous activists in Massachusetts have advocated for decades for a change to the Massachusetts seal, which is viewed by many as racist and over-generalizing. The original version of this bill was filed in 1985 by former State Representative Byron Rushing, a prominent Boston civil rights leader, and has been filed in some form in every session of the Massachusetts Legislature since then.
The commission will include:
  • Five members appointed by the Commission on Indian Affairs who are descendants of tribes with a historical presence in the commonwealth;
  • Four members appointed by the governor with relevant cultural and historical expertise;
  • The executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs or a designee;
  • The executive director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission or a designee;
  • The executive director of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities or a designee;
  • The executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council or a designee; and
  • The House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory; Oversight.
The commissioners will be appointed within 60 days of the bill becoming law and will make a final report by October 1, 2021.

The legislation now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Approves Commission to Revise or Redesign Massachusetts Seal and Motto
Senate Approves Commission to Revise or Redesign Massachusetts Seal and Motto