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LMRD 789 - Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020 -- Ol' Magnolia


("Ol' magnolia" is one a several designs being considered for the new Mississippi State Flag; this version is depicted in acrylic)

The State of Mississippi has a unique opportunity to unfurl a new flag better representing its entire community. We Quapaws naturally had to share our ideas. This is our vision for the new flag, a mixture of the old and new, with water represented for the river and the gulf, 17 fish and 17 magnolia blossoms represent the 17 religions of the people of the state; 17 is also the infinite, the universe, the boundless cauldron of creativity; 1+7=8 (8 turned sideways the symbol for the infinite). This flag honors all peoples, all species, and all the natural landscapes of our great state. Mississippi is a greatly misunderstood. Nonetheless it remains culturally, economically, and spirtually critical to our nation -- indeed the entire world. Its name derives from our Queen River, who we Quapaws have dedicated ourselves to the service of, and whose meandering curves form our western boundary.

Anyone can submit a design, as long as it includes the words "In God We Trust," and criteria from the North American Vexillological Association. See further down for exact guidelines. Deadline is Aug 13th.


("ol' magnolia" watercolor)

I have been collaborating on a design with our newest Quapaw, Ms. Allie Grant, using a historic Mississippi Flag we are calling the "Ol' Magnolia," and adding a few new elements including a river full of fish (representing the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico), and all of the tributary streams and wetlands connecting. Yellow is the soul, red is the soil. The star is us, the people. In her luminescent prose-poem below, Allie sees the star as our dreams, and the workings of our dreams through our pulsing hearts. It all connected, the people and our dreams, one cannot exist without the other.

ol' magnolia

by allie grant

hello there,
ol' magnolia is delighted to meet you.
she comes to us as directed by The Creator; a vision realized by following a shimmering constellation of friends- i'll let them introduce themselves:

i am gold, but you can call me hospitality, or heroic soldier, wild sunflower, elvis' homecoming performance suit, the sunrise, the sunset, or harvest season. i am inclusion. i am the treasure of your heart. i do not wish to be bartered or traded. i do not want a house built from my remains. i do not need to be buried to be sacred. i simply want to glow. for you. within you. alongside you. yes, you!

i am red, but let it be known that i am all colors, all shapes, all forms, all roads, all fields, all horizons. i am the earth's skin. i am equality. i abide in you as you abide in me.

i am blue, but you do not know me as i know you. i am in all that you see and all that you do. i live in the waters and the sky and the very air that you breathe. i am diversity. long before you were born, i knew your name. i am heaven's curtain. i am the veins of the earth. i am your veins. i am your tears. i am whispers of faith. i am the dawn. i am of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. i am life. give, and it will be given to you.

i am a star, but i speak only in rhythms; i can only answer to the sound of your beating heart. when your dreams are full- and you are a state of dreamers- look to me; you will see me waiting. hold your heart up to the sky, like a voice cascading out of one tin can and traveling through a single thread to pour out into another, i shall shine for you as i listen. your dreams are already true.

i am the river, and i will not answer to you.

i am the fish, and we shall be your messengers to Mother River and Papa Gulf. there are seventeen of us, formulated and formed as links to the infinite (17; 1+7=8) Divinely calculated motions of hope, swimming on forever. protect us, their school of children, and Mama and Papa will protect you.

i am a magnolia tree, but you already know that. you and i go way back. you learned to climb by scaling the bark of my back, perching upon my shoulders, and pointing out through my blossoms. you can smell me anywhere. and everywhere. i am always cooking something up for you in the kitchen of history. i'm the face of home. there are seventeen blooms thriving here, just as there are seventeen religions flourishing in this state we love so deeply, all reaching in the same direction- upward and outward and onward. my blooms are forever unstained, the eternal blank canvas on which you may write the pages of your life, always blossoming in the timeless shape of a waving hand...calling you over..."well, well, welcome back. come on and sit a spell, won't you? how's your mama an'nem? crop's looking mighty fine this year. i know you've got to be workin' hard. i'm awful proud of you. don't stay gone so long next time, hear? it sure is good to see you."

so as the vines of the branch Who Knows
and the roots of one rainbow,
floating downstream and ascending to the sky,
the dreams of mississippi will never die.

~~~

allie grant is secretary for the quapaw canoe company . In addition to the river, her passions are literature, poetry, theatre, drama, youth arts programs, volunteerism, and caring for her 2 cats.


(Another version of our "Ol' Magnolia," this one in watercolor)


~~~

State commission asks for state flag designs

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The commission appointed by top lawmakers is looking for public submissions for a new state flag design.

The commission is made up of members chosen by Governor Tate Reeves, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is providing clerical support for the commission and will accept the flag design submissions.

Submissions must follow this criteria:

1. Only unique flag design submissions that include the words “In God We Trust” will be considered by the nine-member commission. Flag descriptions will not be considered.

2. The new flag design cannot include the Confederate battle flag.

3. Flag design submissions must adhere to principles of the North American Vexillological Association:

  • Keep It Simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
  • Use Meaningful Symbolism. The flag’s images, color, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
  • Use Two or Three Basic Colors.
  • Be Distinctive or Be Related.

The deadline to submit a design is August 13, 2020. Send your submissions to Emma McRaney at emcraney@mdah.ms.gov or mail them to Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS, 39205-0571.

Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag:

(gathered from news stories found on Mississippi Today)

House Speaker Philip Gunn unveiled his choices for the commission Wednesday. His choices, along with credentials, are below:

Robyn Tannehill, mayor of Oxford, Mississippi

“Robyn’s background as a businessperson in the marketing industry, and as a community leader in north Mississippi makes her a perfect member of the commission. She is known for her passion for Mississippi and for having a forward-thinking vision for her community and our state. I’m confident that she will be a vocal and active member of the commission.”

Dr. Mary Graham, president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

“Dr. Graham has proven herself to be a visionary leader for the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Her dedication to preparing our students for jobs in the 21st century through focusing on and growing workforce development initiatives is exemplary. Everyone admires the work of Dr. Graham and she will be a great voice for Mississippians on the commission.”

TJ Taylor of Madison, Mississippi

“TJ Taylor has been a member of my staff for five legislative sessions. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi College Law School. He has served as policy advisor, general counsel and currently serves as policy director for my office. He has been a key figure in the success of the effort to build support and ultimately pass legislation to change the state flag and ultimately form this commission. His passion for this issue and his calm demeanor will add much to the commission’s process while representing the voice of a younger generation of Mississippians.”

Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann also announced his picks:

Former Justice Reuben Anderson of Jackson

“Anderson served as the first African American Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1985 to 1991. He received his undergraduate degree from Tougaloo College, and law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. Anderson currently serves as President of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.”

J. Mack Varner of Vicksburg

“Varner currently practices family and business law in Vicksburg. He received his undergraduate degree from Millsaps College, and law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is the past president of the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Vicksburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and formerly served on the Board of Trustees for Millsaps College.”

Sherri Carr Bevis of Gulfport

“Bevis was recently named Community Relations Liaison to the Singing River Health System. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree from George Washington University. She previously worked as Assistant Secretary of State for External Marketing for the Secretary of State’s Office, and as a public school teacher in the Bay-Waveland and Hancock County School Districts. Bevis is the current national president of the Mississippi State Alumni Association.”

Reeves appointments to the flag commission are:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History: Betsey Hamilton.

Hamilton is a retired public school teacher, real estate broker and appraiser. Hamilton serves on the board of the Union County Heritage Museum and as a member of the Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. She has previously served as a founding member of the b of the Union County Historical Society and the Tanglefoot Trail. She was a trustee for the New Albany Public School District and a member of the Advisory Council for the New Albany Boys and Girls Club.

Mississippi Economic Council: Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben.

Ben is the fifth democratically elected chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. He took office in 2019, making history as the youngest chief. Ben is actively involved in mentoring youth in his community, is a life-long resident of Neshoba County and lives in the Pearl River community.

Mississippi Arts Commission: Frank Bordeaux.

Bordeaux serves as vice president of property and casualty for BXS Insurance. He has been involved with numerous civic and nonprofit organizations over the years, including serving on the Gulfport Youth Sports Association, as a past board member of Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen, and as a past board member of Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

The commission charged with presenting a new Mississippi state flag to voters in November on Tuesday heard from a vexillologist, or expert on flags.

Expert tells Mississippi state flag redesign commission: ‘Keep it simple.’

“Simplicity,” Mississippi vexillologist Clay Moss told the commission, is the first rule of flag design. “A small child should be able to draw it from memory. Less is more … Keep it simple.”

The other four basic principles of flag design are to use meaningful symbolism, use only two to three basic colors, refrain from using lettering or seals and to be either distinctive or related.

Moss noted that the Mississippi Legislature has mandated the commission violate one of the principles — the commission must include the words “In God We Trust” on whatever design it approves and puts before voters. Moss said this could still be done in an aesthetically pleasing way — perhaps in a ribbon or emblem — and noted both Florida’s and Georgia’s flags include the same words.

The Mississippi Legislature, after decades of debate, voted to remove the 1894 state flag with its divisive Confederate battle emblem. The legislation it passed created the commission to choose a new flag to put before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters can either approve or reject the new design. If they reject it, the commission will go back to the drawing board, and present another design to voters next year.

Tuesday was the flag commission’s second meeting. Its nine members are appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker.

“We have a challenge before us,” said former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, who was elected commission chairman last week. “I can assure you of one thing: We are going to adopt and approve a flag Mississippi can be proud of.”

The commission plans to begin reviewing the more than 1,000 flag designs the public has submitted — which will be available for the public to see on the Mississippi Department of Archives and history website starting Aug. 3 — and each select their favorite 25 by Aug. 7. The commission is free to come up with its own designs, or tweak or combine submitted ones.

Commissioners will then each rank their top 10 picks around the middle of next month and vote to narrow the list to a final five. There will be a public comment period for the top five, then the commission will pick a final design at a Sept. 2 meeting and submit that flag to the Legislature and secretary of state to be put on the ballot.

“I’m jealous of you, as a flag nerd,” Moss told commissioners on Tuesday. He also urged them to “be wide open” to designs and “have fun.”

Moss in a slide presentation showed commissioners various designs — good and bad — from flags across the country and the world. He pointed out intricacies of design tenets, such as putting emblems closer to the “hoist” side of the flag as opposed to the “fly” side.

“Horizontal stripes are generally better,” Moss said. “It’s been scientifically proven that the human brain identifies a horizontally striped flag easier. That’s why about 50% of the world’s flags have horizontal stripes, and 12% vertical.”

Moss told commissioners, “A lot of U.S. state flags are mundane.”

“There’s state seal after state seal,” he said.

Mississippi horticulturalist, author and gardening radio show host Felder Rushing attended Tuesday’s meeting. He’s not pitching a particular flag design, but is urging the commission to include the magnolia blossom in the new design. He gave commissioners a brochure he made advocating the magnolia blossom.

The brochure notes that Mississippi, the Magnolia State, during the Civil War had a state flag that included the magnolia tree. He said the new design should use “the flower, not the tree.”

“It’s on everything in Mississippi,” Rushing said. “It’s even on our quarter.

“The rest of the country has already moved on, leaving us with the daunting challenge of agreeing on a new state flag that will fly proudly long after we participants are gone,” Rushing’s brochure said. “And we can choose a symbol that either says something, or not.”The commission charged with presenting a new Mississippi state flag to voters in November on Tuesday heard from a vexillologist, or expert on flags.

“Simplicity,” Mississippi vexillologist Clay Moss told the commission, is the first rule of flag design. “A small child should be able to draw it from memory. Less is more … Keep it simple.”

The other four basic principles of flag design are to use meaningful symbolism, use only two to three basic colors, refrain from using lettering or seals and to be either distinctive or related.

Moss noted that the Mississippi Legislature has mandated the commission violate one of the principles — the commission must include the words “In God We Trust” on whatever design it approves and puts before voters. Moss said this could still be done in an aesthetically pleasing way — perhaps in a ribbon or emblem — and noted both Florida’s and Georgia’s flags include the same words.

The Mississippi Legislature, after decades of debate, voted to remove the 1894 state flag with its divisive Confederate battle emblem. The legislation it passed created the commission to choose a new flag to put before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot. Voters can either approve or reject the new design. If they reject it, the commission will go back to the drawing board, and present another design to voters next year.

Tuesday was the flag commission’s second meeting. Its nine members are appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker.

“We have a challenge before us,” said former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, who was elected commission chairman last week. “I can assure you of one thing: We are going to adopt and approve a flag Mississippi can be proud of.”

The commission plans to begin reviewing the more than 1,000 flag designs the public has submitted — which will be available for the public to see on the Mississippi Department of Archives and history website starting Aug. 3 — and each select their favorite 25 by Aug. 7. The commission is free to come up with its own designs, or tweak or combine submitted ones.

Commissioners will then each rank their top 10 picks around the middle of next month and vote to narrow the list to a final five. There will be a public comment period for the top five, then the commission will pick a final design at a Sept. 2 meeting and submit that flag to the Legislature and secretary of state to be put on the ballot.

“I’m jealous of you, as a flag nerd,” Moss told commissioners on Tuesday. He also urged them to “be wide open” to designs and “have fun.”

Moss in a slide presentation showed commissioners various designs — good and bad — from flags across the country and the world. He pointed out intricacies of design tenets, such as putting emblems closer to the “hoist” side of the flag as opposed to the “fly” side.

“Horizontal stripes are generally better,” Moss said. “It’s been scientifically proven that the human brain identifies a horizontally striped flag easier. That’s why about 50% of the world’s flags have horizontal stripes, and 12% vertical.”

Moss told commissioners, “A lot of U.S. state flags are mundane.”

“There’s state seal after state seal,” he said.

Mississippi horticulturalist, author and gardening radio show host Felder Rushing attended Tuesday’s meeting. He’s not pitching a particular flag design, but is urging the commission to include the magnolia blossom in the new design. He gave commissioners a brochure he made advocating the magnolia blossom.

The brochure notes that Mississippi, the Magnolia State, during the Civil War had a state flag that included the magnolia tree. He said the new design should use “the flower, not the tree.”

“It’s on everything in Mississippi,” Rushing said. “It’s even on our quarter.

“The rest of the country has already moved on, leaving us with the daunting challenge of agreeing on a new state flag that will fly proudly long after we participants are gone,” Rushing’s brochure said. “And we can choose a symbol that either says something, or not.”



Balance, Diversity, Democracy



Quapaw Canoe Company core values are balance, diversity, and democracy, which all derive from our experience paddling big canoes on the big waters of North America. Balance is exemplified by the passage of our canoes. Everything we do is about keeping even keel. To do otherwise is dangerous to our health and well-being. Pandemic and police brutality are symptoms of the imbalance we seek to counteract in our services and work as canoe builders, guides & outfitters. Other imbalances include species loss, global warming, and loss of wild places. Diversity for us includes all peoples and all creatures great and small. We have always created equal access for all. Our staff reflects our regional demographics, around 60% Black and 40% White. Since 1998 we have made it our mission to make sure all communities found along the Lower Mississippi River enjoy equal access to the wonders of the big river, and the life changing experience of the wilderness. Our adventures practice the best qualities of Democracy. Everyone in the big canoe sets aside their differences and paddles together for the good of the whole. We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Inherent in life is the right to breathe clean air, the right to drink clean water, the right to eat good food, and the right to live in healthy shelter, in healthy communities.

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If you want to get outside, and get on the river, we have figured out how to do it safely, even amongst the challenges of the virus: one person, one family, one group at a time, no mixing & matching, and do your own food and shuttling. Cheaper that way also! See below for more info, or call trip coordinator Allie Grant 662-627-4070, guides John Ruskey 662-902-7841, or Mark River 662-902-1885, and we'll make it happen! (In Vicksburg-Natchez area call Capt. Layne Logue 601-529-7354 for other safe daytrip options).

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