JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska has issued an amended birth certificate for the teenage designer of the Alaskan flag, after researchers investigating his heritage found records indicating he was born more than a year earlier than previously believed. believed.
The change means that John Ben Benson Jr., who is believed to be the only indigenous person to design a state flag, did so when he was 14, not 13.
Superior Court Judge Adolf Zeman ordered last week that the state issue a birth certificate for Benson with a birth date of Sept. 12, 1912, and correct his mother’s maiden name.
The order followed a request from researcher Michael iqyax̂ Livingston, who was part of the team studying Benson’s heritage and uncovered church and other records supporting the changes.
Benson is known as Benny Benson, and in 1927 he won a territory-wide contest with his flag design, which featured the Big Dipper and the North Star on a simple blue field. It became the state flag after Alaska was admitted to the union in 1959.
According to a University of Alaska web page on the history of the flag, Benson explained his design in his written submission for the contest: “The blue field is for the Alaskan sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaskan flower. The Pole Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the northernmost in the Union. The saucepan is for the Big Dipper, which symbolizes strength (sic)”.