It’s rare that a state decides to throw out its old flag and replace it with something completely different.
But that’s precisely what Minnesota did recently after announcing Andrew Prekker of Luverne, Minnesota, as the winner of a competition to redesign a symbol that will represent the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Minnesota's new flag pic.twitter.com/iPvqVTGkuE
— Brian Bakst (@Stowydad) December 19, 2023
The final design is a simplified version of one submitted by 24-year-old Minnesotan Andrew Prekker. It will replace an older flag widely criticized for its complicated composition and offensive imagery, writes Smithsonian Magazine.
“Among the many emotions I’m feeling, the strongest are a sense of honor, privilege, excitement and gratitude,” says Prekker in a statement. “It’s such a rare privilege to be able to contribute to our state’s history in such a special way like this.”
Adopted in 1957, the old state flag depicts the Minnesota state seal on a blue background. The seal shows a farmer plowing a field, his rifle leaning against a tree, while a Native American man rides a horse toward the sun in the background. Critics say that this design “suggests a people being driven out,” per the Rochester Post Bulletin’s Matthew Stolle.
“It is my greatest hope that this new flag can finally represent our state and all its people properly,” Prekker adds in the statement. “That every Minnesotan of every background—including the Indigenous communities and tribal nations who’ve been historically excluded—can look up at our flag with pride and honor.”
Prekker told local public radio that there were several inspirations behind his design. “Other state flags known for their simplicity, memorability and popularity, such as Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, were big inspirations in what I wanted to achieve. I’d say most of my inspiration came from Minnesota itself and all the rich history that supplied plenty of creative directions I could go. Our state’s motto “L’etoile Du Nord,” which means “star of the north” was the reason I incorporated a North Star into every version I made, including the finalist design.
Each color was chosen to symbolize a different important aspect of Minnesota and its identity. For the stripes, white represents snow/winter, the green stripe represents our beautiful nature and the importance of agriculture and the light blue stripe represents the several significant meanings of water to our state: as the land of 10,000 lakes, the birth state of the Mississippi River and the origins of our state’s name —which came from the Dakota language— which translates to ‘a place of sky-tinted water.’”
The Minnesota State Emblems Redesign Commission met last week to approve its final report, and send it to state lawmakers and Governor Tim Walz.
“The commission approved the flag design last week after sorting through more than 2,500 submissions.
Unless the Minnesota Legislature blocks it, the design will officially become the Minnesota flag on Statehood Day on May 11,” according to KSTP.