Special Commission Meets Wed, June 14th
Mass Indigenous Agenda Rally – Thu, June 15th
On Monday, June 1st, Brookfield became the 76th town in Massachusetts to approve a resolution in favor of changing the state flag and seal.
The southern Worcester County town (population 3,400), passed the flag and seal resolution at annual town meeting by a vote of 52 to 36, after a stirring speech by local advocate Sherry Zitter.
The margin of victory, in a town that had voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden by five percentage points in 2020, came as a bit of a surprise even to supporters, since the Town of Brookfield still keeps an image of Indigenous protectors burning down a settler’s cabin in 1675 as the official town seal.
Maybe that unfortunate symbol will get a much needed update at the 2024 town meeting!
Brookfield, a beautiful place of slow moving rivers and peaceful lakes in the heartland of Nipmuc country, worked together with representatives of the Chaubanagungamaug Band in 2017-18 to support the permanent preservation of Tobin Beach, an ancient and historically significant Native village and burial site on the shores of Quaboag Pond.
The site, which had been used in recent years as a recreational campground, has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, preventing further development.
Now, with the favorable result at Brookfield town meeting, we can say 22% of the cities and towns have voted in favor of changing the flag and seal of the Commonwealth.
Thank you, Brookfield!
To view of map of progress of the town meeting and city council votes on this issue, go to: https://changethemassflag.com/?da_image=2106
If you would like to help add your city or town to the growing list of communities favoring a change to the Massachusetts flag and seal, please get in touch using the contact button on the changethemassflag.com homepage.
Special Commission Meets Again!
On Wednesday, June 14th from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, the Special Commission on the Official Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth will hold a virtual meeting available for livestreaming under the Hearings & Events section at www.malegislature.gov.
This will be the first time the Special Commission has met since December of 2022.
On the agenda will be discussion of a statewide opinion survey to be carried out in conjunction with UMass Boston to gauge public sentiment on design elements for a new flag and seal for Massachusetts.
Supporters of this historic process of review and change to our state symbol are encouraged to tune in to this pivotal meeting, and stay informed.
The special commission was recently granted an extension on their reporting deadline until mid-November of 2023. By then, the commission is expected to issue a final recommendation for a new state flag and seal.
It is important to note that it will then be up to the legislature to enact the commission’s recommendation and actually change the flag and seal, so we need to keep the pressure on.
State House Rally! June 15th
On Thursday, June 15th, the Mass Indigenous Legislative Agenda has called a statewide rally and advocacy day at 11:30 a.m. on the state house steps in Boston, to support passage of their top five legislative priorities. Allies, please attend!
These bills will ban the use of Native mascots in public schools across the Commonwealth, replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in Massachusetts, celebrate and teach Native culture and history in our public schools, improve educational outcomes for Native students, and protect Native cultural artifacts from being sold for profit.
More than two dozen school districts in Massachusetts continue to use discriminatory Native sports mascots in defiance of the documented evidence of the harm they cause.
Earlier this year, New York joined Maine and many other states that have banned the use of Native sports mascots in public schools, putting further pressure on the Massachusetts legislature to finally step up and pass H.477 / S. 245 and end the use of racist mascots in our public schools.
Massachusetts continues to honor the father of slave trading in the Americas, Christopher Columbus, a documented rapist of Native women, whose men perpetrated the most barbaric acts of genocide against Native people. It is long past time for Massachusetts to follow the lead of Vermont, Maine, and so many other states in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, by passing H.2989 / S. 1976.
To support all five of the legislative priorities of the Mass Indigenous Legislative Agenda, come to the state house in Boston on Thursday, June 15th, for the 11:30 am to 1:30 pm rally and advocacy day!
For more information, and to participate even if you are not able to attend in person, please RSVP at: www.facebook.com/MAIndigenousAgenda.org/