BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Lawmakers want to remove the native American symbol from the state flag, but the bill could face opposition as it heads for a committee hearing.
For the past 34 years, former state Representative Byron Rushing has pushed for the creation of a commission to look into changing the state flag, which features a native American standing beneath a disembodied arm holding a sword.
When Northampton state representative Lindsay Sabadosa was asked to sponsor the bill this session, she saw it as an opportunity to bring more attention to symbols that some may find offensive.
“You’re really hearing a lot of support and people saying ‘oh my goodness I hadn’t realized that that’s what was going on,’ and there’s sort of this awakening about the issue that’s been really fascinating to watch and it’s exciting to see momentum building around legislation,” Rep. Sabadosa said.
The bill hasn’t been heard in committee yet, but when that date is set, members of the public are invited to testify for or against the legislation, and not everyone is behind the change. Many feel the symbol has represented the state of Massachusetts for decades, and removing it would be a costly endeavor.
This session, lawmakers are also considering a proposal to remove Native American mascots at all Massachusetts schools.