Madison will get a new flag after City Council members approved Tuesday a modified design that removes a symbol some say appropriated a Native American tribe’s culture.
The City Council, on a voice vote, unanimously approved the new design, which keeps most of the current elements on the flag.
The new design removes part of the center element that resembles an ancient sun symbol that originated from the Zia Pueblo tribe in New Mexico.
Elements that will remain are a diagonal, white band that separates two light blue segments, representing the Isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota.
The new flag also retains a central black cross with a gold circle in the middle to represent the state Capitol as seen from above.
The old flag was designed in 1962 by brothers Rick and Dennis Stone to symbolize the city on trips with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps.
Ald. Arvina Martin, who along with Ald. Maurice Cheeks pushed for the flag’s redesign, praised the Stones’ “excellent” design while saying the inclusion of the Zia symbol was “inadvertent cultural appropriation.”
“I think we have kept the spirit and the same design and just made a minor tweak,” said Martin, the council’s first Native American member.
After the vote was taken, Martin presented Rick and Dennis Stone the first copy of Madison’s new flag.