3.0 – Responses from Non-INDIANS

  • The arm with the sword makes me think the Native is about to be beheaded. It seems to be out of context with the Native just standing, and rather violent for a flag.
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• Seems like it is promoting hostile relationships between Native Americans and non-Native Americans and with the words (as translated) seems to promote violence if it serves our perception of Liberty.
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• At first glance I didn't connect the sword to the Native American, which was fine. But after thinking and studying, I find it very offensive that the sword is hanging over the head of the Native American. As relating to our struggles against England, it works, but unfortunately there is no image of the King of England with a sword over his head. All would be well without the sword.
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• I have no problem with this flag that has been in use since 1915. We are all Americans and the sooner we stop hyphenating our status as Americans – the better.
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• A sword draws blood and kills. It can never replace the "ballot box".
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• The motto adds insult to injury. It shows the savagery of the non-Indians at the time by saying that Peace can only be accomplished by bloodshed. I would really like to know why the state put this on their flag.
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• The arrows, pointed down, signify peace. The symbolism, however, is subtle. It does reinforce the motto of being prepared to defend liberty if pushed far enough. It is also a reminder that there are still Nipmucs, Wampanoags, Pequots, members of the Iroquois Confederacy and other tribal members living in Massachusetts. We are all Americans now, but to remove the person would be to dehumanize the symbolism, and to imply that the Indians were successfully removed after King Phillip's (Narragansett) War.
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• Only if you know the history and symbolism does this emblem make any sense. Indeed, it is derived from a 17th century emblem that also had an unarmed Indian and the legend "Come Over And Help Us"– as if the Indians needed European help.
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• The positioning of the arm with sword above the head of the Native gives me the impression that the Native is about to be slaughtered.
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• As a White Southerner, I have been told repeatedly that my beloved symbols (the Confederate Flag, for example) has its place: museums, re-enactments, my home. State flags and other government sanctioned displays are unacceptable forums of display. People, especially nonwhite minorities, that find the Confederate Battle Flag offensive object to the symbolism itself and the fact that their tax money is being used to display it in the first place. Using that logic, I am offended that this symbolism is being used on a government sanctioned display and tax dollars are going to the maintenance of this display that represents only a tiny minority of the citizens of Massachusetts (Native Americans constitute a small fraction of the population). It is offensive and discriminatory and should be changed immediately! ... The difference between Indian symbols and Confederate symbols used on State flags is that when Confederate symbols were put on State flags, no one was being made to feel guilty. Whites are being made to feel guilty when their symbols are banned or removed from display as they are today. No one is making a conscious effort to ban Native American symbols, in fact quite the opposite! I absolutely feel that history should be told, and be told truthfully. I know my ancestors were guilty of sins against humanity. No culture is free from human rights abuses, though, and my ancestors have done many positive things for humanity throughout history. That being said, however, I will be damned if I will sit back and let my symbols be taken from me and see other cultures' symbols be accepted and even deified by America without a fight. And you may quote me on that!!!
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• It looks like the sword is poised to strike the Native American man who is in the shield. And it almost looks like the man can't see what's coming. There is more truth to this image than its designers probably intended. That isn't worth celebrating, though. The motto is utter nonsense. If they want a "defense of liberty" motif, they already have one. The man (in the shield, that is, the area of protection) is armed but not about to attack. He is ready, but not threatening. Massachusetts needs a new approach in flag design, not yet another seal-on-a-bedsheet. The shield, the Native American, and the star work well together, so I think they should keep that. And the colors are good. But get rid of the militaristic bluster. ...................................... • Looks like a military patch, and they do not have right to use native symbolism, especially in this manner it makes me feel as if the sword above is pointed to Native person below as if to wipe him out. I do not like it. ...................................... 

• It is heraldry not social commentary.
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. • A European arm with a sword in an aggressive attitude towards a Native American, which is standing peacefully. The arm comes from behind (treason) and without showing the face (cowardice). About the motto: That was the "pre-emptive war" of the time. This idea must come from the Colonial era. Massachusetts shouldn't be proud of this. The state has other things which can be shown on their flag. All this is similar to the old Georgia flag symbolism and controversy. ...................................... 

• There seems to be some unintended consequences of the placement of the sword and shield. If killing Indians was the designer's main purpose, wouldn’t a gun have been a better instrument? But understanding the Latin text makes the meaning a little clearer
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• The Indian in the shield by himself is OK, I think, but the arm with the sword over the Indian bothers me a lot. Especially since the ruffled sleeves may indicate a European arm.. It just comes off very domineering. [Reading the Motto] My uneasiness was justified. The way the arm with the sword sought peace was through genocide of the "enemy" represented in the shield. And after killing the Indians to have peace, then they want "liberty". This shield just goes to show that from early on, U.S. symbolism is filled with genocidal fetishes. 
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• It gives me the impression that war is still on. I don't believe in sword as a means to seek peace. 
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• The imagery here, along with the history of the U.S. persecution of Amerindians, leaves a foul taste in my mind when I see this flag. The motto doesn't help any – it is complicated to understand, and that leads to further discomfort. The sword is practically pointing down at the Native American man, who seems very peaceful. If there were two swords crossed above the man, the whole picture would seem different and more fitting along with the text.
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• Swords and other weapons are common motifs. Seeing them does not make me uncomfortable. Again, nothing in this image [showing full arms] is offensive to me due to a familiarity with the history of the state of Massachusetts. 
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• That's the way most Native American ancestors lived. They lived through hunting animals for food and other items such as blankets, tepees, and so on. We do not seek peace by a sword. We seek peace through the heart. 
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• What is that? A white man or God striking down a Native with a sword? Leave it to a northern state to show that peace is achieved by killing Natives. ...................................... 

• Totally backwards. It seems that the Native is to be killed and used as an excuse for it because of the bow and arrows. [full arms] Totally hypocritical: If they were seeking peace by the sword, they were not seeking peace because the Native was not their enemy. The Native was not restricting their liberty because it was not [the settlers’] land, so they wanted the "peaceful freedom to kill" the Native for themselves. 
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• The symbols are unrelated. The arm and sword is an old Massachusetts symbol. It is not poised to kill the Native American depicted on the shield. ...................................... 

• Massachusetts is a sovereign commonwealth and they can decide for themselves what they want on their flag. I will have to trust your translation of the Latin. Few Americans understand Latin. Maybe it would be better if the motto were in English. (I am offended that you determine a "native American" by one's race. My forefathers and I were born and raised in America. I think all those who were born in America are native Americans -- or else I don't know what a native Arizonian is). I am a Native (sic) American. Tribe? American.
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. • I have no problem with the bow and arrow, inasmuch as they are not employed in an aggressive fashion. The drawn sword about to strike, however, is aggressive and thus an unwise symbol for people vastly outnumbered who exist at the sufferance of much more powerful forces than they can muster. The [full arms] context removes the sword from the hand of the Indian and puts it into the hands of the state, where force properly resides in a democratic society. That context makes the symbol less aggressive, but not by a lot. The motto is nonsense in a time of peace, and makes sense only in the context of the American Revolution, when much of Massachusetts was under attack or occupation by a foreign enemy.
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... • It looks like someone killing the image on the shield. Being on top, the sword is symbolically superior, while the Indian is below, inferior. The motto is viable, but not with the image.
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.. • Warlike symbolism of striking sword; furthered by bow and arrow. Given this [full arms] information, the flag no longer seems to imply the warlike stature of the Native American, but if anything, of the state as a whole. I can still see how it might make some uncomfortable.
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.. • The sword's a bit weird, but other than that it seems fine. It's an Anglo flag with an image of an Indian and a banner saying, "Kill any people standing in the way of our freedom." Not a good message to send.
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.. • I see no connection between the crest and the charge. Indian is respectfully represented. The motto and sword represent 1775 sentiment, the star should mean statehood, the Indian honors the first inhabitants. It makes for a lousy flag, but that’s a design issue.
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.. • I am perfectly comfortable with this emblem. It causes me no offense, and I don't see that it should cause anyone else offense. The emblem represents the pursuit of peace and the love liberty, two noble ideals.
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.... • 'Tis an impressive image of power – but power held firmly under check, so it does not degenerate into naked brutality. The dignity of this American Indian is clear to see; no way could he ever degenerate into a Saddam Hussein-type bully and coward. 'Tis an excellent motto, which brings to mind this principle in which I firmly believe: Peace without liberty is not peace but slavery. It would be ideal for peace and liberty to thrive without the protection of the sword, but Untermenschen such as Saddam make swords a vital necessity. Wealth, success, fame, prosperity – all are worthless without LIBERTY. 
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• The image above looks as if the Indian below is gonna be beheaded. [full arms] What is the difference here? The majority of the population isn't going to decipher the Latin; the fact that this is the Mass. state flag doesn't change my dislike of the images. Isn't there a protest every year at Plymouth, Mass., because of one group’s 25 year or so tradition of a National Day of Mourning that coincides with Thanksgiving? 
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• Shield is of European shape and is somehow copying European heraldry. Arm and sword looks to be inflicting an attack upon the shield, and the Native American does not respond in defense. Remove arm and sword. Change shape of shield to one of Native American design. Add more natural aspect, perhaps eagle, tree, moon, sun, or bison. Change Latin motto to other language, Latin has no international aspect to Native American heritage, it’s not even in same language family (Indo-European).
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.. • To me the image of "Indians" or "Native Americans is one of positiveness, representing courage, even under the most dire of circumstances. Liberty takes no holidays! We must always be vigilant in ensuring our way of life.
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• Picture of Native American is politically neutral. The motto implies pacifying people through armed means, and the implication seems to be Native Americans (although I suppose the British were the original objects of the threat). Still, words are interpreted by contemporary readers, and one cannot just say that the meaning from 200 years ago is the only applicable meaning. I would have been more uncomfortable with the motto had it been in English instead of Latin, since the average person who views it wouldn't be able to translate it anyway.
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• VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE.
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.. • The coat of arms reflects Massachusetts' Indian heritage – and does so in a non-insulting manner. [as to the motto] First, most people probably don't have a clue what it means. Second, it's less radical that "Live Free or Die." I don't know when the motto was adopted, but it could not be directed against the Indians, as liberty is a political concept.
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.. • [the shield] looks like the Massachusetts coat of arms. I believe that it honors the relationship of the first Anglo settlers and the natives of the area, before the more advanced society overtook Okay, [looking at the full arms] this changes the picture of honoring the Native Americans. The motto's meaning seems to be a rationalization for the destruction of a civilization. Since most state flags and mottos were developed in the latter 19th century, I assume that someone felt that their history must be justified. 
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• Basically this flag does not represent the north American Indians. It does not show the spirituality, nor does it show the trials and tribulations endured by this once great race of people. This flag should symbolize the history of the Indian people and what they went through, even before Europeans first came to north American shores. They should have a flag that symbolizes their art and culture. PS – it’s a bit boring [re full arms] WHY, OH WHY DOES a flag representing a Native North American Indian have Latin writing on it? It is an insult to any Indian who sees this.
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. • The crest is an attempt to copy European heraldry, and to make it American. The shield has been used for more than 1000 years to show others which family or tribe you represent. This is not a Native/American tradition. Make something of your own. Don't copy Europe! The sworded arm is also no symbol of America. I don't recall Indians using swords.
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. • Though the shield with the native looks nice, it doesn't sit well with me that the sword looks ready to strike at him. On the other hand, the placement of the sword could be a coincidence in this respect. It seems that the designers of this symbol felt justified in settling in someone's territory, and killing and scattering the inhabitants so that they could live on their stolen land in peace. Really though, I don't know what this motto is about – maybe the Revolutionary War. I also wonder why a Native is depicted here. Was it because the people of Massachusetts wanted to honor the Natives? Was it because they wanted people to know what the motto referred to? 
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• I do not feel that it shows anything in a bad light. I feel it is ironic that the Native American is shown with a motto which basically could be used in the defense of the Native American's fighting off the encroaching whites. 
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• I find using Western heraldry and iconology substituting authentic Native American imagery and symbols a continuing act of Western culture valorizing itself as somehow 'better'. Historically speaking, a truly ironic motto. 
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• Immediate response was the sword wiping out the American Indian. 
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• I would actually say that I am comfortable with the symbolism shown rather than totally indifferent because I find the image of the Native American very handsome and powerful, while the arm with the sword is an index of the conflict that has surrounded Native Americans ever since the foundation of the United States. I am a bit uncomfortable with the addition of the star, given the connections I have with stars and the United States in general. The star is referential to the federal authority that played such a dominant role in the subjugation and relocation of numerous Native American tribes earlier in the nation's history. The motto seems ironic when juxtaposed with the image, inasmuch as it is unclear just /whose/ liberty peace is being sought under. While remaining ambiguous, it seems unlikely that it was the liberty of Native Americans, yet an Indian likeness appears surrounded by the statement. Very curious.
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• I wish we, Americans, would stop all of the divisive talk and determine that if you were born in this country you are a native American. American Indians ancestors were not born on this continent. They came from other parts of the world, just as my ancestors did. I am a native American – I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and according to my dictionary that makes me a native American.
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• The image of the Native American is a bit too stereotypical, although he could simply be a hunter. The sword-in-hand above the crest changes everything. Is the sword coming down on the figure below? If so, puh-leeze! Highly offensive! [viewing full arms] Basically the same reaction, except the offensively stupid motto makes the image even more offensive. Also, the fact it appears on the Massachusetts flag makes it unbearable. This is worse than the southern state flags with the Confederate stars and bars.
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• I am unaware of how accurate the Algonquin's clothing is, but I do know that the downward-facing arrow is in complete contrast with the aggressively held broadsword. This contrast makes me "somewhat" uncomfortable with the image, although I suspect that the state of Massachusetts only the best of intentions when accepting this flag design. The motto could be used as a debate-starter even today; our presence in Iraq could certainly be compared to our arrival in the New World. I prefer to think of peace as being sought at the negotiation table and not on the battlefield. I realize that isn't always possible, but I also know that the European explorers, and subsequent pilgrims, did not do all in their power to reach a peaceful resolution. All too often it was peace on their terms and their terms alone, equating liberty for them and persecution for others (in this case, the Native Americans).
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. • I don't understand what the sword above the shield is doing. It looks malevolent. I don't like seeking peace via the sword. Plus, it appears the sword is to be used against the Native American pictured rather than the British overlords. I'm sure the latter were the target of the writers of the motto.
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.. • Don't like the artwork – it doesn't seem Native enough to represent Indians, not representative of Massachusetts. either. The sword looks threatening for either group, and Indians wouldn’t probably use a European shield shape. Awful in so many ways – I don't like anything about it.
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.. • I think the overall picture is good, and shows a strong Native American and represents a small portion of their heritage. On the other hand, the image of the arm with the sword at the top is way too aggressive in my opinion. It doesn't represent what I believe the heritage is. [full arms] It makes much more sense now – and I love the motto. I still really like the shield, I just still do not care for the arm wielding a sword. Sorry
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.. • The image suggests the subjugation of the first North Americans by those with different technology, as indicated by the arm wielding the sword. Added to the image, the motto means "peace but on my terms" to me, or perhaps the peace of death will liberate the original North American.
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. • I kind of like the flag. The part with the sword kind of pointing down seems strange and perhaps out of place? I like the bottom part with the Native American man the best. [full arms] Now, the sword looks even more out of place. The irony of talking about the sword, peace & liberty after what the colonizers did to the Native Americans is startling. Why say that they seek peace and have an image of an otherwise peaceful looking Native American warrior but at the same time committed genocide against Native Americans? It just doesn't make sense.
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.. • Don't like the arm/sword above the crest, looks violent. 'By the sword we seek peace'???? The sword should be the last alternative, not the primary methodology of a group, and certainly not incorporated into the logo of a group/entity of whatever sort.
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.... • The figure is wonderful, I don't like the hand about to chop off the man's head above – too close to the slaughter that occurred. Ideally, it is futile to win long-lasting peace by the sword in any culture. I would not choose this symbolism as a representation, in that it indicates a group that will use force to obtain their liberty. If you are speaking from a historical point, it probably was appropriate then as people had to fight their way to liberty.
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..... • I think that the symbol reflects an unenlightened view of the history of Massachusetts, where the principal policy seemed to be the elimination of the Native Americans. The Latin motto says that the people seek peace through the sword, which seems to me to be an oxymoron.
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..... • This image seems to overemphasize weaponry; as well as perpetuate a non-universal stereotype of Native Americans. Not all tribes used these weapons, not all were warriors or peaceable, and not all dressed in this manner. This image seems more like a romanticized ideal created by Americans of European ancestry. While peace and liberty may have been reached in many places through armed revolt or conflict, armed conflict is not an ideal we should be hoping to strive for, especially under the guise of liberty and peace. Additionally, it may be culturally insensitive to Native Americans, many of whom were victim to the military policy of the early United States government.
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• It's nothing special. If it is for Native Americans, it is just portraying their way of life. They didn't grow up in a world where they go to the supermarket and buy some frozen beef. They went out and hunted it. [the motto] could result in a misunderstanding by ignorant people. "by the sword we seek peace" could translate to "if something's wrong, do something about it with a weapon.".
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• Obviously derived from historical events. Truth is not something to be uncomfortable with.
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• Not made uncomfortable by depictions of American Indians as they lived in the past. However, a sword positioned so as to smite the Indian is slightly odd. Though, if it has its historical basis in genocide, why put a big picture of an American Indian on the state flag? Isn't that a bit like having a picture of a Jew underneath the Nazi flag's swastika?
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• The arm with the sword above the Native American gives a feeling of impending doom. Was there liberty for the Native American ?
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• Looks like a Cavalry saber on top of the shield, ready to strike the Indian below! A peaceful sword is not an unsheathed sword handled by a striking arm.
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• The symbolism is ambiguous but the Native American is obviously being used to represent something of which he is not a part. The motto is indicative of the violence perpetrated against Native Americans.
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• How can this country place a Native American on a flag, do they want to remember how they killed most of them. Disrespectful, to put Latin with Native Americans!
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• Since heraldry is part of history, the shield obviously displays part of Massachusetts history. Emblems are historical, and do not mean anything. Meaning is lent by the beholder [The motto] is part of Massachusetts history and does not carry meaning intrinsically. Meaning is placed upon it by those who use/view it. Surely, it would be best to encourage positive images linked to this, than negative?
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• (a) Sword looks poised to decapitate Native American; (b) Don’t like war symbols; (c) Who’s appropriating Native American symbol? (d) Object to sword symbol; (e) State has some nerve using the Indian; (f) The motto may have been appropriate at a time of Revolutionary War. Now it is only clothing a belligerent boast in the pseudo-classicism of Latin. Non-Indian from the Tribe of Levi, according to traditional family assumption. ;-)
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• The irony of using a Native American on the arms of the political entity that destroyed them is rather like a hunter hanging trophy heads on his wall. If it is meant to be a sign of respect or ‘inclusiveness’, it is not the best way to do it, and it doesn’t work for me.
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• I am not offended by the flag because it does not degrade Native Americans in any way shape or form. If the picture would show a white man killing the Native I would be opposed, but since that is not the case, I feel totally indifferent towards the flag. I feel not only is this not an offensive flag, I feel that it represents freedom and our right to protect our own freedom. 
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• I do not like the sword over the Indian's head. Is that to represent the white man's actions against the Indian? Cannot Native Americans be portrayed without a bow and arrow? There was more to their culture than tomahawks and arrows. Were I to choose a symbol to represent Native American cultures under one flag, I would have picked the medicine wheel or a symbolic animal, a feather even. The motto doesn't do anything for me as I do not understand Latin. Also, why use Latin to represent Native Americans, you could write something with their own language. The star also makes me uncomfortable, it usually is used by larger countries to represent a "colony of". I am sorry to be difficult, but I do not like these flags. My grandmother was an Algonquin Indian.
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.. • I see no reason to take offense at the image of the person (the addition of the star doesn't make any difference to its acceptability) nor do I find anything wrong with the motto. However, if they are interpreted together to mean "we seek peace [with the Indians] but only under liberty" then that could be seen as depicting an antagonistic relationship between Native Americans and others. But I don't think that is what is intended, Massachusetts just combined the motto (which is fine by itself) with the image (which is fine by itself). I'm not at all offended by it nor do I think that many people would be (though I guess that's why you're running this survey). 
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• The arm with the sword over the symbol distresses me. It is an attack on a peaceful person. It angers me to think that they claim to seek peace under liberty when we drove the Native Americans out of their homes and slaughtered them with less dignity than cattle. 
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• The sword above the Indian looks poised to chop the Indian's head off or something. Not too good an insinuation considering the US's history of Indian mistreatment! By the sword we seek peace? That just makes it worse! With the sword over the Indian, it's as if it's saying "The Indians stood in the way of our peace, so we killed them." 
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• It reflects the continuous state of war and peace between the European settlers and native inhabitants of Massachusetts in that given time period. [full arms image] clarifies the need to wage war in order to secure peace, but that this peace must be under the name of liberty in order to end the state of war. The European sword shows the ascendency of Europeans while the image of the Indian shows his nation’s preserved dignity.
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.. • It doesn't do much for me. My wife is Native American 'Ojibwa', and from one who has lived closed to Native Americans most of his life, different colors come to mind when thinking of aboriginal peoples. The colors chosen strike me as European or Royal in nature instead of sky blues, bold greens and rich golds. Then there is the arm and sword, what does this symbolize to the designers? To me it evokes images of cavalry charges and horrible slaughters. It's as if someone placed SS over the Star of David on the Israeli flag. Sorry, I know someone did a lot of work on those graphics but I would be surprised to find that they had any Native blood in them. This one [full arms] is no better. The horrible sword is still there. On your next attempt I suggest using some of the Native American's spirit totems in the flag. I also suggest losing the figure of a man entirely. The Native American is part of his environment just as it is part of him so the figure of a human in my mind is poorly chosen. Try using our parents – Mother Earth and Father Sky, our Brothers the bear, moose, eagles, salmon or even a crow. However, to keep things simple, try just a tree with a river a sun and a moon. Try using the colors of the seasons or depict the four winds without any figures at all! That is Native America to me.
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• The only disturbing feature would be the arm holding a sword in a menacing gesture. The person in Indian traditional eastern attire leaves me rather indifferent. I see it as an ethnographically neutral stylization. My knowledge of Latin is limited, but the English translation rendered conveys an ambiguous or even hypocritical message in support of both tyranny and liberalism.
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• I do not find the Indian figure to be too insulting, however the image with the motto is a different story (see below). The state of Massachusetts is an European invention; if anything, they should have had a Pilgrim on it, instead of trying to symbolize or imitate the culture they kicked off originally. It is misleading. NOW this [full arms] may be insulting to Native Americans, since having your people killed and the remaining driven off your land and then preaching to them about "peace under liberty" and the currently more popular "indivisible with liberty and justice for all", which has been placed on signs all over upstate New York recently by white people protesting Indian land claims. I would feel a bit insulted. Although I am not a Native American, but Hungarian-American, having been born in Hungary, I know more of the injustices the elite-controlled U.S. government has done all over the world in the past and present which the average white Americans chooses not to be aware of. PS – I read other peoples' posts, it’s funny that most of them concerned themselves with the hand and sword over the shield. Those who are familiar with European-style heraldry know that it is not meant as an offensive symbol to " kill" the Indian figure (or any figure) on the shield, but it is quite common in some European countries' heraldry as a symbol of defense, or strength. The same people would probably be really offended at some Hungarian heraldry, which can be traced to the middle ages, which also makes use of weapons, and even death scenes in some. One old Hungarian province, Trencse'n (which is currently in Slovakia, called Trincin) features a Turk's head impaled on a stake. It is probably gruesome for this day and age, but it is from another day and age and is meant to represent the overcoming of the local population of the Turkish ottoman empire's conquest, and oppression of the area in the late middle ages and Renaissance period.
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• The arm looks like it is trying to strike down the Amerindian ... Otherwise fine. Well, [full arms] that's a lot more revisionist? Liberty for whom? 
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• Far too much of the "warrior" in this design – how many European or Asian flags depict armed men? There ought to be less of a warlike image and something more symbolic of the culture. The obscure motto and established presence of this image on a U.S. state flag does not diminish the negative impact noted above. For the profound sense of war in this image, it's a surprise we see no red ... 
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• As a flag collector and a follower of the flag-design notion of, shall we say, economy of design and symbol, now prevalent amongst the membership of NAVA, I find myself largely indifferent to those US state flags which do not respect that economy, and Massachusetts' state flag and the emblem to the right belong to the 'too complex' category. I would not even recognize the state it belongs to had it not been for the fact that in researching obsolete or historical state flags I found that the Mass. flag dates back to 1776, and is therefore one of the oldest state flags in the US. One of the reasons I feel just enough uncomfortable in seeing it is that the emblem design follows European heraldry in complexity, as do too many flags of this era and most subsequent US states. I am a linguist by avocation, and I love inscriptions and publications in other languages, but I do not like the use of foreign languages in US and state government institutions (except for publications, etc., that are used for access to govt info & services by linguistic minorities). Govt institutions of that time and later used them because Latin was still the lingua franca of the European world, which included the Americas. I deplore the use of writing and of human and animal figures on flags, with a few exceptions: Amerind (this is my replacement term for 'Indians', 'Native Americans', 'Warhoops’ (still used by some people in rural Washington state where I live) etc. I deplore the use of the term as a PC term because 'Indians' isn't good enough. Why? Two reasons: First and foremost, I am a native American, although I am quite white. I was born in this country, and that makes me both a native and an American. Native American was spawned precisely because the term Indian is vague to the point of causing confusion in many conversations and some publications. Native American too is vague, because all of us born here are native and American. Also I have actual Indian friends, who come over to my apartment, smoke, drink, eat, we all socialize etc., and not even one of them uses the term Native American, all preferring ‘Indian’ in usage. I know some politico Indians here who use N.A. whenever they speak to non-Indians, except for people like me who know them well enough to know what they're at: the manipulation of symbols – in this case for the purpose of making non-Indians feel guilty about treatment of Indians by whites, and therefore trying to promote Indian interests, of which I heartily approve. I usually use 'Amerind' in speaking or writing about languages spoken by the aboriginal populations of the Americas, but occasionally otherwise. 'Aborigine' is a good word which fits our Red Brothers and Sisters because it means 'the first inhabitants', but if we use that it will be just as vague as 'Indian', and everyone will think of Australians. Also, 'aborigine' is too clinical sounding: It makes you think of a scientist lecturing a university class with a cadaver prop, saying something like, "And here, students, we fold back the Caucasoid membrane over the homo ergaster, and this reveals the aborigine.... tomorrow we will remove the Ordovician from the Stradivarius" I think the best term in the English language to use for them is the ones Canadians have adopted, which is 'First Nations' I am a native American. Tribe? English, Scots, German (see comments on Native American above – if you dare!)
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• All elements of the emblem have absolutely nothing in common with the Indian culture. The shield is part of medieval knighthood culture and shouldn't (and cannot!) be put in the context of Indian Tradition. The figurative showing of the is made according to canons of European rather than American arts. The weapon held by the hand above the shield is a scimitar, being a part of Arabian or Eastern European weapon smith, again - with no relation to Indian culture. If it were possible, this project [full arms] should get a lower rating than the previous one. Latin motto goes in pair with Indian culture just as much as Chinese letters would on the Stars & Stripes. The same relates to the five-corner star, which is typically European.
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• It looks like the sword arm is poised to slash the Indian! On reflection, that IS probably the idea, given the establishment of the New England colonies, but I still do not like it. Can't we have a device which doesn't show the victim, minutes before he is maimed? [viewing full arms] Hah! I KNEW it! First of all, I don't like the motto – you seek war with a sword, not peace. And it is all too clear who it was that had to be slashed into submission so that we could enjoy the Pax Americana.
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• The symbolism shown in the flag is beautiful. Although I am not an Indian, I feel that the flag accurately memorializes and honors the regalia, weaponry, stature, honor, heritage and "citizenry” of the tribe to which it must belong. Even someone with little or no knowledge of Indian Tribes would conclude that there is a from of governance/governmental structure intact which merits respect and dignity. [full arms] Lovely. I prefer this to the previous because I feel that it attaches a form of respect to the State or Tribe to which it belongs. This, in my opinion, is most appropriate, in that it subliminally reminds those of us who are not fortunate to have Indian Heritage that our United States first belonged to the Indian, and they welcomed us, availing Freedom and Liberty
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• The Native figure lacks the cartoony exaggeration typical in exploitative or derisive popular images of Native Americans. The disembodied sword seems disconcerting. First, it is a severed human limb. Second, it is wearing a men's collar from the sixteenth century in place of its shirt cuffs. Third, it is grasping or swinging a cavalry saber, a weapon that, when used from horseback, is perhaps the second-most effective edged weapon in human history. It is a very menacing image. Yet its placement makes it seem something apart from the Native figure; it is as if the two images, Native and severed arm, are two symbols juxtaposed, not a single symbolic entity. The scroll manages to tie the Native and the arm more closely together. It also erases much of the potential symbolic menace of the hovering decapitator above the Native figure. The whole design is a disconcerting blend of the literal and the highly romanticized. "By the sword, we seek peace." So the designer threw in a literal sword. "But peace only under liberty." To show liberty, the designer depicts a Native American, drawing on deep-seeded American romantic notions of the primeval freedom of the Natives. "In the beginning, all the world was America," Locke wrote. The designer of this image would have known what Locke was talking about.
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• The image while stereotypical is rather abstract and can be seen in any number of lights. I think the statement "By the Sword We Seek Peace" is an oxymoron that, in light of recent events [war in Iraq], is even more annoying than ever. Add to that the image of the Native American, given the history of Native American’s relationship to Anglos and how the sword was applied to them, and you can see where this is going.
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• It shows nothing of Native American CULTURE. A mere picture of an 'Indian brave' is rather like looking at a stuffed dodo. Indian culture was alive with their own symbolism, deity beliefs, mythology and tradition. Clearly no one has asked them.
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• Stereotypical image – doesn't represent diversity or high state of development of historical pre-contact indigenous societies. Considering the genocidal devastation visited upon East Coast indigenous peoples by invading Europeans, this image and the motto are more representative of this genocide and its denial than anything else.
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• The image is kind of deceiving when looking at it for the first time. The hand with a sword is understandable, yet there are some issues with it. It kind of looks like the guy is about to get his head, or dare I say scalp (Indians didn't start it!) cut off by the sword. The sword looks of European! So this makes it even more fatal. Now that [the motto] was explained it still seems odd in its own right. The Indian definitely shows the heritage of the state of Massachusetts. Yet does it show it correctly? It feels like the sword is still defeating them. And the Latin motto makes it go, 'Well, it’s OK to kill the Indians as long as it’s for liberty' – oh, of course!
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• It seems to be marked with a very dull literalism, symptomatic of the worst period of heraldry (say, the second half of the eighteenth, and first half of the nineteenth, century). The more frankly symbolic and decorative the design, the better it serves on frankly conventional symbol, such as a flag or shield. By the way, is that translation quite right? The version stated would be more like "Ense petimus pacem, sed pacem sole sub libertate"? Ah, a little research shows me that the full form of the motto is "Manus haec inimica tyrannis Ense petit placidam sub liberate quietam, This hand (the tyrant's enemy) seeks with the sword a gentle rest under liberty" – a suitably anti-Royalist Puritan sentiment for the People's Republic of Massachusetts.
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• I believe the Native on this shield honors those who lived in this land and actually welcomed Europeans to it. Many colonials had a great respect for the Natives and their culture, which obviously existed before their own. This shield honors those Natives today, and they shouldn't be erased from our historical memories. I have absolutely no problem with the motto "By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty." It obviously comes from the Revolutionary period. The native is the same as in the standing-alone shield, and again honors the Native presence in that era. (Although some could mistake the arm and sword, which hovers above the shield, as threatening to the Native. But that would be a stretch.)
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• The arm holding the sword above the Native American looks like it's about to swipe down and decapitate him. Quite an insulting badge I feel. Also, the white star next to the man seems to reinforce America's dominance over the Native Americans. This crest seems totally inappropriate.
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• I read half of a book, American Colonies by Alan Taylor, which provides a vivid telling of colonial machinations and politics with natives, by alliance and deceit, and by using the predominant native tribe as a cat's paw to destroy all their traditional enemies and then in turn destroying them. Since Natives survived in Massachusetts into the 19th century, existing on the bottom rung of society along with blacks, it's hard for me to imagine that the symbolism of the flag intends to portray anything but a vanquished and vanished foe in a sentimental fare-thee-well.
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Positive Comments: 26 .... negative comments: 61