A thirteen-person State Emblems Redesign Commission was formed in response to public discontent with the design of the new flag of Minnesota after it was criticized online and likened to the flag of Somalia.
The decision to replace the previous flag was based on concerns that it may have included a racist image, showing a European settler working the land while a Native American galloped away. The prior design, according to one lawmaker who spearheaded a bill to change the flag, depicted a chaotic scene with ties to genocide.
The flag debate started when the commission revealed the first draft of a new design on December 15. It showed a streamlined Minnesota shape in dark blue on the left side, with an eight-pointed star in the center representing the North Star. A trio of light-blue, white, and green bars were arranged on the right side of the page.
After the new flag was shown, some internet naysayers pointed out that it looked too much like the green, white, and blue bar flag of Somalia’s Puntland state, which features a white star in the middle. It is worth mentioning that Minnesota is home to a large Somali population. Additionally, the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota is represented by Representative Ilhan Omar, who is herself an immigrant from Somalia and has ties to the Somali community, which have added fuel to the dispute.
For many days, discussions on the new flag design continued on social media. Several redesign committee members addressed the matter during a meeting on December 20.
The committee ultimately settled on an alternative design and rejected the contentious one. A white star, symbolizing the North Star, is placed on the left side of the modern flag in a darker shade of blue, while the right side is shown in a lighter shade of blue.
A diverse group of persons, including representatives from the state’s indigenous populations, have been tasked with the redesign of the flag. The deadline for new designs for the state’s flag and seal is January 1, 2024.