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Minnesota unfurls new state flag atop the capitol for the first time Saturday

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Minnesota officially unfurled its new state flag atop the capitol for the first time Saturday on statehood day.

The new flag and accompanying state seal were adopted to replace an old design that Native Americans said reminded them of painful memories of conquest and displacement.

The new symbols eliminate an old state seal that featured the image of a Native American riding off into the sunset while a white settler plows his field with a rifle at the ready. The seal was a key feature of the old flag. That’s why there was pressure to change both.

Officials didn’t pick any of the most popular designs submitted online that included options like a loon — the state bird — with lasers for eyes.

Instead, the new design adopted in December features a dark blue shape resembling Minnesota on the left, with a white, eight-pointed North Star on it. On the right is a light blue field that to those involved in the selection process symbolizes the abundant waters that help define the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The new state seal features a loon amid wild rice.

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