4.0 – Non-Indian MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS

(current & former)  

• I live in Massachusetts and I love our seal and flag. It recognizes the former Indian inhabitants of our great Commonwealth while at the same time paying homage to the importance of a well-armed citizenry by showing the sword ... I especially like the star, which gives a hint of Massachusetts' great natural beauty, along with the motto, which perfectly captures the essential importance of an armed citizenry to the maintenance of liberty, as the Patriots of Revolutionary times so nobly demonstrated.
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• The Commonwealth named itself after a local group of Indians and put a picture of one on its state seal, arrows down to symbolize peace. It certainly isn't degrading. The star, sword and motto have nothing to do with the Indian, rather they have to do with the leading role Massachusetts played in the Revolution. The star was placed on the flag as a symbol of Massachusetts' status as one of the 13 original states. 
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• This doesn’t bother me. To understand the motto you have to understand our history. Many people from Europe came to this country to avoid religious persecution (i.e., Pilgrims). They had to also deal with the American Natives who felt threatened by them arriving here. Naturally the Europeans felt they had the right to defend there live against any threat weather it was the crown of English role or the American Natives. I firmly believe one should read the history behind any motto or flag for the matter before passing judgment. 
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• On the one hand, I am always skeptical of images of Native Americans – they oversimplify and usually show "the noble savage" when most Native Americans were neither. On the other hand, they were here first; the image honors that and the fact that the state name is an Indian Word (I live in the shadow of Great Blue Hill). I have no trouble with the motto. Peace and justice, of which liberty is a part, are inextricably closely linked in the Bible and all of our history. ........................................

• There is nothing in this symbol that suggests the sword is to be used against the Indian. Indeed, it is a cruel twist to suggest this meaning, as the Indian is standing with the arrow pointing downward, which is a sign of peace. An earlier version of this seal was granted to Massachusetts Bay Colony to symbolize the commercial and missionary intentions of the original colonists. Yes, there were terrible conflicts later between the colonists and the European settlers, but that was in an age where the majority imposed their beliefs on the minority – that's just the way it was. Today we are much more sensitive to the beliefs of other cultures and better understand the need for cooperation rather than conflict. I am not indifferent - as a native of Massachusetts I believe this is an excellent coat of arms. It honors the original inhabitants of the area and their peaceful interactions with the earliest settlers. The star symbolizes the North Star as Massachusetts Bay was the northernmost colony and The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was the northernmost state in the USA until part broke off as the State of Maine in 1820. The Crest and the motto go together to show that the citizens prize their liberty, and are ready to fight for it, which is exactly what they did in 1775 to begin the American Revolution. ..................................

• This figure of a Native American holding an arrow (with a point facing the ground, as in peace) has long been a symbol of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the colonial government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is the duty of the Commonwealth to seek peace, but peace only under liberty. We cannot seek the said peace with mere words, but will fight for it if the situation warrants it. I am a proud citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I am as well a proud inheritor of the symbols of our glorious New England Commonwealth. 
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• I live in Massachusetts and have grown up with this symbol. The motto is only part of a whole poem. If you take the time to read the whole text, you will find that any militaristic feelings to the motto are totally taken out of context. In fact, the poem is pacifistic, and very good. 
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• The depiction here gives the awkward appearance that the Native American is going to be struck by the sword – that somehow he is being kept at bay by this faceless, bodyless arm. The Latin phrase gives some context for the sword, but the positioning is still not right. Again, the Native American appears to be threatened by the sword. I like the idea of honoring Massachusetts indigenous people, particularly given the history of the first Thanksgiving and the initial harmony that existed. I'm not sure that he needs to be holding a bow and arrow. I also like the idea of "peace only under liberty" and the sword works well with that theme. ........................................................

• This in heraldry. The sword in the crest has nothing to do with the Indian on the shield. An arm in the crest on my family coat of arms holds a cross. It has nothing to do with the griffin and the three crescents on the shield. [looking at full arms] I see where you're going, and I think it's ridiculous! You want to start some politically correct movement to get the Massachusetts flag changed – and it's not even your state! That Indian is there to symbolize Massachusetts, because the commonwealth is named after those Indians. That was an honor. The Latin motto came from the Revolution against Britain. Nobody fought against the Indians for liberty. You've got too much time on your hands. 
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• I like the motto a lot but don't understand why the Indian is there. We fought the Indians for their land and the English for our liberty. Maybe they should put the Queen Mother’s face on there. 
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• I am from Boston, Massachusetts, and there is nothing wrong with this flag, please don't tell me that some bleeding-heart liberal thinks that so called "Native Americans" might be offended by it. Get a LIFE ! Maybe we should change it to a kneeling (praying) pilgrim, that would make liberals happy wouldn't it ? Thank GOD there is at least something left in Massachusetts that doesn't reflect a weak-willed, pacifist, liberal mentality. The motto on the flag means "peace through strength" , (obviously this flag was not designed by a Democrat.) Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion, once again as a former resident of Massachusetts, for God's sake don't vote for that two-faced weasel John Kerry. I am a native American – native Massachusetts Republican Tribe .............................

• It's just slightly uncomfortable because of the war-like images. Although one can see the arrow pointing downward. I like it, as I am from Massachusetts. It shows a lot of symbolism, especially with the star and the motto. This is my flag of course. 
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• I have grown up with this flag and accept it a the flag of the commonwealth. On a political correctness scale I can see the concern. Though I have heard not outcry from the Native Massachusett or Nipmuc (from my region of Massachusetts) descendants. I think the motto has little to do with Indian (Native American) and European American (I guess that is what I would call us) relations. I believe the reference to Peace under liberty has to do more with repressive treatment from the mother country in our revolutionary times. Certainly, Native Americans did little to restrict liberty. 
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• Not only is this a racist, stereotypical image of a Native American, it seems to be portraying Native Americans as violent with the sword-arm shown on top. [on viewing full arms] the image is still offensive ... I am from Massachusetts, and feel this image is still unacceptable in my eyes. 
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• Taken out of context, I can see how this imagery seems threatening, mostly due to the proximity of the swinging sword to the person's head. I think the figure, however, is clearly a neutral representation. He is not depicted as monstrous, nor as subjugated and defeated. He has his weapons, but they aren't at the ready. The arrows point downward. A bow-and-arrow is really the only weapon that can be held in so clearly a non-threatening manner. Replace the arrow with an axe, and even though he'd be holding it by his side, it'd still imply a threat. The bow must be gripped differently and raised, and the arrow locked and drawn back before it's a threat. Keep in mind that this figure was drawn in 1780 (the one to the left is drawn with much finer detail than the original). It's not born out of an attempt to be politically correct, it was drawn when Indians and settlers were still killing each other. Under the circumstances, I think it's an incredibly fair depiction. As a resident of Massachusetts, here is what I was taught about my flag: the figure is from the Massachuset tribe. The Massachuset were overwhelmingly the friendliest tribe to the European settlers, many even adopting European behavior and Christianity. During a particularly large break-out of hostilities between the various tribes and the English settlers, most of the Massachuset tribe fought on the settlers' side, especially against their mutual enemy, the Mohawk tribe. But the Massachuset were a small tribe even before the Europeans arrived, and an outbreak of smallpox combined with the steady assimilation of the survivors into European culture had the effect of wiping them out as a cohesive tribe. In any event, when designing a flag to represent Massachusetts, it's common sense to put a Massachuset on it, since they're who the state is named after. The blue color is for the Blue Hills area near the settlements. The star is an intentional link to the stars on the American flag. The sword is linked to the motto. It's poised atop the rest of the crest because that's what they do in European heraldry. If you look at Vermont's flag, it has the same arrangement, only with a stag's head instead of a sword. The motto translates to "by the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." It's a shortened version of a motto appearing in family crests in Europe. The motto first appeared on Massachusetts currency issued during the rebellion against England, and featured the image of a Massachusetts patriot brandishing a sword in the same style and in a similar manner to the one depicted on this flag. No, they weren't seeking liberty for the (hostile) Indians. They also weren't seeking liberty for the English and their sympathizers, whom they chased out of the region. They sought their own liberty. ...........................................

• To have a picture of a raised sword on top of a picture of an American Indian is suggestive of killing American Indians. Not to mention, the American Indian is dressed is stereotypical wardrobe (don't forget to notice he is holding a bow and arrow, which can be construed as American Indians being violent). This is wrong. It plays on conflict between American Indians and the settlers. I am a student in Massachusetts right now [December 2003], and seeing this is a shock to me. This is terrible. If it came up for vote, I would vote to change the flag of Massachusetts automatically, and I think most citizens of Mass. would agree on changing it. This is utterly disgusting. It is wrong, wrong, wrong. 
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Positive or neutral Comments: 14 .... negative comments: 2