South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has called for the removal of the Confederate flag flying outside the Columbia State House. This comes after last week's shooting by self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof, who stands accused of killing nine congregants at an historic black church in Charleston.
But this isn't the only flag currently embraced in United States with a troubling history. Here are 12 state flags that might give people reason to pause—or, in some cases, protest.
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In 1915, the director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History wrote that the St. Andrew's cross present on the Alabama flag's design was meant to "preserve in permanent form some of the more distinctive features of the Confederate battle flag."
Although Georgia has changed its flag in recent years to de-emphasize its Confederate influences, The Washington Post notes that it now references an earlier "Stars and Bars" version of the Confederate flag.
Apparently, that fourth star atop the other three represents Arkansas' time as a Confederate state.
According to a vexillologist (by way of The Washington Post), Tennessee's flag arguably shares visual elements with the Confederate flag.
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There are also many state flags that feature indigenous Americans on them, like the flag of Massachusetts, a move that glosses over their treatment at the hands of European colonizers.
Kansas' flag features two American Indians of unspecified ethnicity hunting buffalo alongside a farmer of European descent, which, like, I'm pretty sure that's not how things went down??
Minnesota's flag paints a similar picture. No contention over colonization here!
The peace pipe and olive branch were meant to symbolize a peace between Native Americans and European settlers. In related news, I'm pretty sure the designer of this flag was white.
10. New Mexico
New Mexico's state flag features the Zia people's sacred sun symbol. In 1999, the state government acknowledged that they had "appropriated the symbol without proper permission and authority" from the Zia, CNN reports—and yet it remains on the flag.
It turns out that the red and gold sun rays are meant to reference the flags flown by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján and his men—the same 16th century Spanish conquistadors who slaughtered most of the Tiguex (or Tiwa) people living in present-day New Mexico.
The flag of Florida wins problematic bingo: Not only does it have the St. Andrew's cross of the Confederate flag, but it's got a Seminole woman staring off in the distance as a ship full of Europeans arrives on her shores.
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