LITTLE SHELL ON THE STATE SEAL
As you probably know, the picture of Chief Little Shell graces the official Tribal logo of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. You can see it on official Tribal letters, on the wall next to the entrance to the Indian Health Service hospital, and elsewhere. What you may not know is that it also is the basis for the official state seal of Massachusetts.
The head used for the official Massachusetts seal comes from the famous portrait of Little Shell (Es-ence) which was furnished to the designers of the seal by the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Little Shell's picture was selected to be the model for the seal (to quote the designers) “not only because he [Little Shell] was a fine specimen of an Indian, but also because his tribe, the Ojibwas, belong to the great Algonquin family of which the Massachusetts were also members”. As he stands on the shield, Little Shell is clothed in a shirt, leggings and moccasins.
The legislature of Massachusetts approved the state seal with Little Shell’s image on June 4, 1885. The Massachusetts Little Shell inspired seal also graces the State Flag.
Kade M. Ferris M.S.