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The State of North Dakota, United States of America


Registration number 20060825L


This certifies that the heraldic arms of The State of North Dakota, United States of America are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Blazon adopted by the state legislature:
Arms: On an Indian arrowhead point to base or a bend vert charged with three mullets of the first, in base a fleur-de-lis of the second.
Crest: On a wreath or and azure, a sheaf of three arrows argent armed and flighted gules behind a stringed bow fessways or with grip of the second (gules).
Motto: Strength from the soil.




Sources

The historical note is quoted from FOTW Flags Of The World website at URL http://flagspot.net/flags/. Original author is Joe McMillan.
Image by USHR

Historical note

Based on a visit to the US Army Institute of Heraldry some months ago, I can now offer additional information on the arms. According to Whitney Smith's Flag Book of the United States, in the 1950s the North Dakota National Guard became concerned that it was inappropriate for the state to continue using a state flag based on a military regimental color and approached the heraldic services division of the office of the Quartermaster General (now the Institute of Heraldry) to design a new state emblem that could be used for a new flag. In response, the QMG wrote to Major General Heber Edwards, the North Dakota Adjutant General, on January 30, 1957, as follows (quoting from the copy of the letter in the TIOH files):

In reference to your visit ... enclosed is a suggested design of a device for the State of North Dakota. The blazonry and description are as follows:

DEVICE: On an Indian arrowhead point to base or a bend vert charged with three mullets of the first, in base a fleur-de-lis of the second.

CREST: On a wreath or and azure, a sheaf of three arrows argent armed and flighted gules behind a stringed bow fessways or with grip of the second (gules).

MOTTO: Strength From The Soil.

The colors yellow and green are indicative of the great agricultural state with particular reference to wheat, the principal grain, and the abundant grazing area. The Indian arrowhead symbolizes the "Sioux State". The three stars denote the three branches of the state government: executive, legislative, and judicial. They also allude to the history of the territory under three flags. Stars are borne upon the coat of arms of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition and Lord Selkirk, head of the first permanent colony. The fleur-de-lis represents the French influence and the history of the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

(signed)
ALFRED B. DENNISTON
Major General, USA
Acting The Quartermaster General


This emblem was quickly accepted by the state legislature in act of 15 March 1957 which adopted it as the state coat of arms and provided for its use on a flag and on the governor's flag. It seems not to be commonly used however, other than in the latter application.

By the way, I think the Heraldic Services Division was mistaken about Meriwether Lewis's arms, which I believe were "Argent a dragon's head erased at the neck Vert holding in its mouth a bloody hand proper." That is according to Crozier's Virginia Heraldica and other sources

Design Rationale

Quoted from 54-41-02 NDCC:

The colors of yellow gold and green are indicative of the great agricultural state of North Dakota and has particular reference to ripening grain and the abundant grazing areas. The Indian arrowhead forms the shield of the coat of arms and symbolizes the "Sioux State." The three stars denote the trinity of government; legislative, executive, and judicial. Each star in the bend is given the heraldic value of thirteen which signifies the thirteen original colonies of the United States, and the cumulative numerical value of the three stars indicates that North Dakota was the thirty-ninth state admitted to the Union. The stars also allude to the history of the territory under three foreign flags. Three stars are borne upon the coat of arms of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition and also on the coat of arms of Lord Selkirk, head of the first permanent settlement in this state. The fleur-de-lis alludes to la Verendrye, a French explorer who was the first known white man to visit the territory of this state. The blue and gold wreath in the crest reflects the history of the territory as part of the Louisiana purchase. The crest which shall constitute the military crest of the state of North Dakota is a motif taken from the state seal and to the Sioux Indian tribes signifies mighty warriors.

Registered by

Michael Swanson

Categories

State, US, N

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