On this date in 2006, a 440-pound rendition of North Dakota’s Great Seal was dedicated and hung on the marble wall in the Capitol Building’s Memorial Hall.
The seal is North Dakota’s official “mark” on documents and other paperwork used in official state business and correspondence.
Since its ratification by voters on Oct. 1, 1889, North Dakota’s Constitution has always contained the same detailed description of what is pictured in Great Seal:
“A tree in the open field, the trunk of which is surrounded by three bundles of wheat; on the right a plow, anvil and sledge; on the left, a bow crossed with three arrows, and an Indian on horseback pursuing a buffalo toward the setting sun; the foliage of the tree arched by a half circle of forty-two stars, surrounded by the motto ‘Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable’; the words ‘Great Seal’ at the top; the words ‘State of North Dakota’ at the bottom; ‘October 1st’ on the left and ‘1889’ on the right.”
And while the contents of the seal have remained unchanged over the years, the design and look of the seal has been tweaked nearly a dozen times since its adoption.
The North Dakota Secretary of State’s office, by law, is responsible for custody of the seal.
The North Dakota Legislature, over the years, has prohibited the use of the Great Seal for political, commercial and advertising purposes. However, the legislature has also allowed the seal to be used on items offered for sale as gifts and souvenirs by the State Historical Society and the Parks and Recreation Department and on business cards for state employees.
You can read more about the North Dakota Great Seal here.