The next Jamaica Plain Forum will be discussing how to change Massachusetts' official flag and seal, which is regarded as a symbol of white supremacy.
"The current flag and seal, which features a Colonial broadsword held in a white hand over the head of a composite 'Ideal Native American,' is one of two state flags in the United States that remains controversial due to its representation of white supremacy," says the Jamaica Plain Forum website. (The other state is Mississippi, which still uses the Confederate Stars and Bars.)
For more than 30 years there has been proposed legislation to establish a special commission to review the state flag and seal, while working with Native American leaders of the Commonwealth to create a new flag and seal. This year state Rep. Nika Elugardo, D-15th Suffolk District, co-filed a bill to establish the commission. Elugardo is one of the scheduled speakers for the April 4th forum.
"Leaders of North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) in our district educated me about the meaning of the state seal in the context of local indigenous culture. The seal depicts a sword hovering over the head of a portrayal of a native leader in a way reminiscent to some of the beheading of Metacom (King Philip), Wampanoag Indian chief of a confederation of Algonquin tribes," said Elugardo to Jamaica Plain News. "The pilgrims apparently broke a peace treaty, starting King Philip's War which ended with the killing and enslavement of many indians and the brutal displaying of King Philip's severed head for 20 years. This is a visual that some of my indigenous brothers and sisters relive whenever they see our flag. That is unacceptable."
"Does Massachusetts want to continue in a race to the bottom with Mississippi to see which state will retain their invidious imagery of white supremacy the longest?" says the Jamaica Plain Forum website.
Other scheduled forum participants include: Elizabeth Solomon, Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag; Eva Blake, Assonet Wampanoag, Senior Director of Foundation Relations at YouthBuild; and David Detmold of the Campaign to Change the Mass Flag and Seal.
This event is on Thursday, April 4 from 7 to 9 pm at the First Church in Jamaica Plain (6 Eliot St.). Click here for more information about this event.