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Minnesota unfurls new state flag atop the capitol for the first time Saturday

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FILE - Minnesota's flag commission Chair Luis Fitch adjusts some of the final designs as the commission meets today in hopes of picking a final flag design Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 St. Paul, Minn. The new state flag should feature an eight-pointed North Star against a dark blue background shaped like the state, with a solid light blue field at the right, a special commission decided Monday as it picked a replacement for an older design that many Native Americans considered offensive. (Glen Stubbe /Star Tribune via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Minnesota officially unfurled its new state flag atop the capitol for the first time Saturday on statehood day.

The new flag and accompanying state seal were adopted to replace an old design that Native Americans said reminded them of painful memories of conquest and displacement.

The new symbols eliminate an old state seal that featured the image of a Native American riding off into the sunset while a white settler plows his field with a rifle at the ready. The seal was a key feature of the old flag. That’s why there was pressure to change both.

Officials didn’t pick any of the most popular designs submitted online that included options like a loon — the state bird — with lasers for eyes.

Instead, the new design adopted in December features a dark blue shape resembling Minnesota on the left, with a white, eight-pointed North Star on it. On the right is a light blue field that to those involved in the selection process symbolizes the abundant waters that help define the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The new state seal features a loon amid wild rice.

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