Most people understand that the Confederate flag carries with it a terrible history of representing slavery and doesn't have a place in society, outside a museum.
We suspect most Minnesotans haven't paid close attention to the meaning of our state flag. If they do, they will realize it, too, carries a terrible symbolism.
The flag, first unfurled in 1893, has a large white circle with a copy of the state seal in the middle. The seal has a picture of a settler plowing a field and a Native American on horseback — maybe being driven away, maybe escaping.
The image of the pioneer man shows him looking peaceful as he plows, but with his rifle nearby. The Native American, on the other hand, has a spear in his hand, indicating he may still want to fight.
The meaning of the scene — that the remaining Indigenous people should be driven out while the settlers enjoy the riches of the land — was made clear by a poem penned by Mary Eastman, spouse of the Fort Snelling soldier who designed the seal.
MPR News reports that the poem urged the "red man" to flee all the way to the Pacific coast.
There is some progress in the Legislature to have the state create a new flag, although there is always some pushback when it comes to changes like this. It's obvious the time has come for the flag to be redesigned.
This also could be an opportunity to give our flag a lot more pizazz. As it is, our state flag is quite boring. Seen from the ground, people don't really see anything but a big white circle. Looking at it, there's nothing that jumps out to say "Minnesota."
When people rank the best to worst state flags, ours usually ends up in the bottom quarter or so.
New Mexico's state flag colors are the red and yellow of old Spain, with a simple, elegant center design that is the ancient Zia sun symbol. Alaska's flag features a blue field representing the Alaska sky and stars in the form of the Big Dipper, with a larger North Star on top, representing the most northerly state.
Like many other state flags, they celebrate the people, history and pride of their residents.
Minnesota has a rich and deep history and many natural wonders that could be incorporated into a new flag. Certainly people could come up with all sorts of ideas for an image on a new flag that would be simple and impactful and show something unique to our state that we could all be proud of.
The racist relic on our state flag needs to be done away with, and it's the Legislature's job to make sure it happens.