By George Brennan
Gill Solomon, a member of the Massachuseuk tribe for which the state is named, called on lawmakers to remove the arm and sword completely.
"The seal of Massachusetts represents a conqueror," he said. "That's our objection."
The armored hand symbolizes leadership and the sword stands for military honor and justice, according to various military Web sites.
But regular folks who look at the seal see a sword over an Indian's head, said Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Roxbury, who is the sponsor of the bill to change it.
Peters said the objections go beyond the arm and sword. The Indian depicted in the seal is dressed in regalia of a Montana tribe and doesn't properly represent the Native Americans of Massachusetts, he said.
Sure, the sword symbolizes killing people, mainly Indians, to secure the peace. It's possible to read the seal's message as "sword arm...conquering...peaceful Indian." So yes, I'd update it to bring it into the 19th or 20th century. But I'd consider this a low-priority task at best.
As for the so-called "regalia," looks to me like the Indian is wearing generic buckskin clothes. You'd be hard-pressed to say he comes from the Plains or anywhere else. Sure, the state could give him a Massachusetts-specific outfit, but again, I'd deem it a low priority.
For a related subject, see Town Seal of Massapoisett, Mass., Features Plains-Style Chief.