During breaks or parts of the Derek Chauvin trial that cannot be broadcast, the camera delivering the live feed of the proceedings will often pan away to a copy of the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota that is affixed to the wall behind the judge.
For those wondering what they’re looking at, the phrase on the seal says, “L’Étoile du Nord,” which is French for “The Star of the North.”
As for the other images and symbols on it, the Minnesota secretary of state’s website says “the cultivated ground and plow symbolize the importance of agriculture” to the state while the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls are featured as a nod to its natural resources.
There are also three examples of the state tree, known as the red pine or the Norway pine, and the stump in the foreground is a recognition of Minnesota’s timber industry. The sun at the horizon is said to be shining across the plains that cover much of the state.
“The American Indian on horseback represents the great American Indian heritage of the state,” the website adds, “while the horse, spear, ax, rifle and plow represent important tools that were used for hunting and labor.”