UM poll finds only 30 percent of Montanans know state motto - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

UM poll finds only 30 percent of Montanans know state motto

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MISSOULA- A new poll out of the University of Montana finds that most Montanans don't know the words displayed on the state seal.

Thirty percent of Montanans responding to the UM Big Sky Poll knew that "Oro y Plata" is the correct answer. The Spanish for "gold and silver" reflects the Treasure State's mining history. The seal was adopted in 1865, well before Montana officially became a state in 1889.

Pollsters called 603 registered Montana voters to ask them if they knew the state motto. UM professor Sara Rinfret said 65 percent of survey respondents said they didn't know or refused to answer the question.

"The state seal question allows us to explore Montanan perceptions about statewide traditions," Rinfret said in a UM press release.

The Big Sky Poll survey was supported by UM's Social Science Research Laboratory, and another version of the poll will be conducted next fall.

From Wikipedia:

Montana's motto, Oro y Plata, Spanish for "Gold and Silver", recognizing the significant role of mining, was first adopted in 1865, when Montana was still a territory. A state seal with a miner's pick and shovel above the motto, surrounded by the mountains and the Great Falls of the Missouri River, was adopted during the first meeting of the territorial legislature in 1864–65. The design was only slightly modified after Montana became a state and adopted it as the Great Seal of the State of Montana, enacted by the legislature in 1893.[312] The state flower, the bitterroot, was adopted in 1895 with the support of a group called the Floral Emblem Association, which formed after Montana's Women's Christian Temperance Union adopted the bitterroot as the organization's state flower. All other symbols were adopted throughout the 20th century, save for Montana's newest symbol, the state butterfly, the mourning cloak, adopted in 2001,[311] and the state lullaby, "Montana Lullaby", adopted in 2007.

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