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Sixth-graders pushing for a state flag that honors Native Americans

Re “In flap over state’s flag, Cambridge wants change” (Metro, June 12): We are sixth-graders just finishing our year at Fort River Elementary School in Amherst, where, nearly 20 years ago, a class of second-graders advocated for changing the Mass. Pike’s old logo, which depicted a Pilgrim hat with an arrow shot through it. Our class is working to change the Massachusetts state flag to a design that is inclusive of Native Americans and less violent, and we welcome the recent efforts of the Cambridge City Council.

The current flag features an arm holding a sword over the head of a Native American, along with other disturbing details. Legislation under consideration in the State House would move toward establishing a new state flag.

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Massachusetts is a peaceful state, and the Commonwealth’s current flag is not allowing us to put our best foot forward. The 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower is coming in 2020, and we want this flag change to reflect our history by honoring Native Americans. As a class, we are working on building a coalition, recruiting other students from around the state, and educating the public. We hope that with their help, this change can be made.

Zoey Mordecai

Jack Long

Tyler Sproehnle

Amherst

Controversy over flag’s imagery is misguided

Re “In flap over state’s flag, Cambridge wants change”: As a Cambridge resident of 46 years, I think this effort by the Cambridge City Council is just ridiculous. It displays a complete ignorance of vexillology and heraldry.

The crest on top of the state’s flag, with the arm brandishing a sword, has nothing to do with the shield, bearing the image of a Native American chief with bow and arrow. People who see the sword coming down on the Native American just have a fervid imagination. In fact, they could just as well view the sword as being raised in revenge by the very same Native American. (If you look carefully, you will see that the blade of the sword points upward.) The truth is that the two, as is the case with crests over shields, are unrelated.

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Pasquale G. Tato

Cambridge