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“This mark of the beast has to go,” Cambridge, Massachusetts activist Daniel DeGuglielmo explained to me. “It’s white supremacy.”
The demonic insignia in question is the official seal of Massachusetts, appearing above state buildings as a seemingly innocuous blue coat of arms amidst a sea, suspiciously, of white. As outlined in the interfaith minister’s $24 million pro se lawsuit against the Commonwealth, the milquetoast blue emblem upon closer inspection reveals words and images destined to run afoul of the denizen of the bluest city in the bluest state.
The seal appears most conspicuously on the state flag. An arguably bellicose and barely visible motto tells everyone with 20/10 vision who understands Latin: “By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only under Liberty.” The central graphic features a bow-and-arrow-bearing Native American. Above is a sword gripped by a muscular arm, allegedly Miles Standish’s. DeGuglielmo dubs the soldier who accompanied the Pilgrims a “rowdy,” a “murderer,” and “vile.” He notes that the arm is “in the cutting position—it’s ready to strike.” And with a Native American, even if a not-so-defenseless one, beneath the sword, the implication, notes DeGuglielmo, is ominous. “Is it right for the flag of the state of Massachusetts to have an arm and the sword of a murderer?”
DeGuglielmo filed suit in December and received a hearing in a Suffolk County court in early January. He expects his next hearing to determine whether the case will go to trial. One significant hurdle may involve standing. The plaintiff is neither a resident of Suffolk County nor an American Indian, at least in a legal sense. “All my studies and all my interactions with Native Americans produce a spirituality within myself that is Native American Indian,” DeGuglielmo explains. He cites the environmentalism and spirituality of indigenous people as tenets that his soul has embraced. “I am a Native American Indian,” he insists. He likens becoming an Indian to converting to Catholicism. “I am an Italian,” he concedes. “But we’re born here in the Americas.” And as an Indian, the flag imagery can’t help but incense. “They’re my people.”
DeGuglielmo’s suit seeks $24 million for his Sunshine of the America’s Foundation. “I will never accept one cent to my foundation for personal gain,” he notes. Instead, he envisions the bulk of the settlement funding American Indian art programs for high schools and an intercity, Native-themed, cultural exchange. Several hundred thousand dollars of the settlement would purchase new flags for the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns.
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