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Minnesota State Tartan

Last year, on Feb. 4th 2002, the Minnesota State Senate adopted the Minnesota Tartan and Dress tartan as the official tartans of the state.  The tartans were the gifts of the Minnesota Tartan Day Cooperative to the state of Minnesota.

I (Jackie Johnston) initiated the idea and coordinated it with the sponsorship of the Minnesota Tartan Day Cooperative, lead by Barbara Fayth Humphrey.  Our designer was Mark Osweiler, a member of the Scottish Tartan Authority.  (He is has just completed the design for the proposed Iowa State Tartan.)  The Tartan Day Cooperative is made up of 14 Scottish organizations in the state and it's primary purpose is to organize the Tartan Day events at the State Capitol.

I founded the Tartan Day Project in 2000 after meeting the designer of the Colorado State Tartan. I brought the idea to the Minnesota Tartan Day Cooperative and they loved the idea of having a state tartan.  They asked me to coordinate the project and the Tartan Day Project was born.

The 14 organizations of the Minnesota Tartan Day Cooperative had the opportunity to have input into the colors and the symbolism of those colors in representing our state.  After choosing the colors, we then had Mark draw up some designs with the assistance of two experienced kilt makers.  He presented 22 designs to the group and by unanimous vote, the new tartan and matching dress tartan were approved.  We meet again to work out the shades.  Peter Wilson at E-Scot assisted us in getting the samples woven and ultimately the fabric as well.

After approval by the Senate, the tartan was registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority by Mark Osweiler in behalf of the State of Minnesota.

Since that time, Hancock Fabrics has produced a polar fleece of the Minnesota Tartan and a wide range of products are being created by the Minnesota Tartan Project and marketed through the Shetland Piper.  We hope to branch out to more stores as the market grows.

The tartans can be seen at the following sites.

The colors represent Minnesota and it's people and all that weaves us together.  They are as follows;
Blue...for "Water that reflects the sky" which in the Dakota language is "Minesota", and  "Land of 10,000 Lakes" (state motto).

Green... for the Norway Pine (state tree) and the conservation of our forests and fields.

Dr. Pink...for the Showy Lady Slipper (state flower) and the heart of the people.

Black and White for the Common Loon (the state bird), snow, milk (state drink), wild rice (state grain).

Yellow...for the fall colors, the yellow ladyslipper, maize and the golden opportunities found in Minnesota.

On April 6th, we presented swatches of the tartans and a commemorative booklet to the Minnesota Historical Society for the people of Minnesota.  We also presented flag banners to the office of the Senate Majority leader so it will always have a presence in our state capitol.

As you can see, we are very proud of our efforts in the creation of this tartan. Please tell us more about your organization and how it is affiliated with or differs from the Scottish Tartan Authority.  How can we get our tartan listed on your site?

Jackie Johnston
Minnesota Tartan Project

Return to Wearing Tartan Page


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