LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor backs an effort to change the meaning of a star on the state flag that honors the Confederacy by instead have it acknowledge the contributions of Native Americans to the state.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Hutchinson said.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson told The Associated Press Monday that he’d support the proposal to change state law regarding Arkansas’ flag if it comes up again during the legislative session. The proposal, which wouldn’t have changed the flag’s design, failed before a House committee last week.
The proposal would have changed the legal meaning of the blue star above Arkansas’ name on the flag. The star currently represents the Confederate States of America. The bill would have the star instead represent the Native American tribes that inhabited the state, including the Quapaw, Osage and Caddo.
“I don’t know that we need to recognize Arkansas in a state of rebellion,” Hutchinson said. “I think we’d be better off recognizing those nations, from the Indian tribes to others, that we’ve been under.”
Hutchinson said that having the star represent the Confederacy is painful for many in the state.
“Whenever you see the hurt it brings to a significant part of our population, I don’t think it’s worth it,” Hutchinson said. “I think you ought to strive as a state to remove that hurt and this seems like a reasonable approach to that.”