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Arms and Seal


Armed Forces

Indian Tribes

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The first European to explore Michigan, Étienne Brûlé, came in about 1620. The area was part of Canada (Nouvelle France) from 1668 to 1763. In 1701, the French officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with fifty-one additional French-Canadians, founded a settlement called Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, now the city of Detroit. When New France was defeated in the French and Indian War, it ceded the region to Britain in 1763. After the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War, the Treaty of Paris (1783) expanded the United States' boundaries to include nearly all land east of the Mississippi River and south of Canada. Michigan was then part of the "Old Northwest". From 1787 to 1800, it was part of the Northwest Territory. In 1800, the Indiana Territory was created, and most of the current state Michigan lay within it, with only the easternmost parts of the state remaining in the Northwest Territory. In 1802, when Ohio was admitted to the Union, the whole of Michigan was attached to the Territory of Indiana, and so remained until 1805, when the Territory of Michigan was established

Rising settlement prompted the elevation of Michigan Territory to that of the present-day state. In 1835, the federal government enacted a law that would have created a State of Michigan. A territorial dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip, a stretch of land including the city of Toledo, delayed the final accession of statehood. The disputed zone became part of Ohio by the order of a revised bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Andrew Jackson which also gave compensation to Michigan in the form of control of the Upper Peninsula. On January 26, 1837, Michigan became the 26th state of the Union.

Michigan actively participated in the American Civil War sending thousands of volunteers. A study of the cities of Grand Rapids and Niles shows an overwhelming surge of nationalism in 1861, whipping up enthusiasm for the war in all segments of society, and all political, religious, ethnic, and occupational groups. However, by 1862 the casualties were mounting and the war was increasingly focused on freeing the slaves in addition to preserving the Union. Copperhead Democrats called the war a failure, and it became more and more a partisan Republican effort. Michigan voters remained evenly split between the parties in the presidential election of 1864.




Coat of arms of

Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac (1658-1730)




The achievement of the State of Michigan is known from 1835. Is is:

Arms: The coast of a lake with a rising sun at the horizon and on the the shore a trapper with a gun standing,, all proper. And a chief Or, the word TUEBOR Gules.

Crest: ON a wreath of tye colors, the American Eagle wit branches of olive and a bundle of arrows, proper. And the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM on a ribbon in chief

Supporters: On the dexter a wapiti or American red deer (Cervus elaphus – Cervidæ) and on the sinister American elk (Alces alces - Cervidæ).


The word Tuebor on the arms is the motto on the arms of Viscount Torrington, an English nobleman who lived near Maidstone in Kent County, England. It signifies: I will defend.

To which is noted:

This latin word has refernce to the frontier position of the State of Michigan. She lies close to the British territory, and on her devolves the defense not only of her soil, but also of the States south and east and west of her,. She is the northern guard of the Union, and she says upon the shield, ‘I will defend’ the frontier against all enemies.In this view the word has a beatiful and brave significance, and should neber be changed while ou position is thus in the forfront of exposure.”[1]




The great seal of the Territory of Michigan was representing an achievement:


Arms: A sheild charged with a tree.

Supporters: Two american eagles upholding a a ribbon of the motto of the United States: E PLURIBUS UNUM

Motto: TANDEM FIT SURCULUS ARBOR (Each tree ends in a splinter)

The seal was surrounded with the legend: GREAT SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF MICHIGAN


The tree was borrowed from the seal of the Northwest Territory.


The Great Seal of Michigan Territory adopted 9 July 1805

 when it included the area we call Wisconsin  


No decree about this seal is available but it is mentioned in:


An Act concerning Seals [2]

Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the Governor and Judges of the Territory of Michigan, That the description in writing, of the great seal of the territory of Michigan, deposited and recorded in the office of the secretary of the territory, shall remain a public record, and shall be and continue the description of the great seal of the said territory of Michigan, shall have the custody of the said seal; and all such matters and things as issue under the said seal, shall be entered of record in the office of the secretary of the territory.


Sect. 2 And be it further enacted, That the descriptions in writing of the seal of the supreme court, of the seal of the county court, and of the seal of the register, deposited and recorded as aforesaid, shall be and continue the description of the said seal respectiveley.


The same being adopted from the laws of one of the original states, to wit, the state of New-York, as far as necessary and suitable to the circumstances of Michigan.


Sesct. 3. and be it further enacted, That an act concerning the temporary seal of the territory of Michigan, passed the ninth of July, one thousand eight hundred and five, and the eighteenth section of an act concerning the supreme court of the territory of Michigan, passed the twenty-fourth day of July, one thousand eight hundred and five, be ad the same are hereby repealed


Made, adopted and published at this city of Detroit

this twenty-fourt-day of October, one thousend

eight hundred and fifteen.

LEWIS CASS, Governor of Michigan.


One of the Judges of the Territory of Michigan.



On the Great seal, adopted 02.06.1835 is the achievement of the state surrounded by the legend  THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN A.D. MDCCCXXXV.


The seal of the state of Michigan and a present coloured version


The Great Seal of the State of Michigan was presented by the Hon. Lewis Cass to the Convention which framed the first Constitution for the State, in sessions at the city of Detroit, on the 2d day of June, 1835.

“The Latin mott on the seal, Si quæris peninsulam amœnam circumspice, ‘- ‘If you wish to see a beautiful peninsula, look around you’- was doubtless suggested by the inscription upon a tablet in St. Paul’s Cathedral, LOndon, to the memory of Sir Christorpher Wrne, its renowned architect, Si quæris monumentum circumspice, ‘- ‘If  you wish to see his monument, look around you,’ referring to the great masterpiece of architecture, by him designed, as the most fitting tribute to his memory.[3]




Sleeve patch


Car Patch


Michigan State Area Command





That for the regiments and separate battalions of the Michigan Army National Guard: From a wreath of colors, a griffin segreant Or.



In "LaSalle and the Discovery of the Great West," Parkman describes in Chapter XI et seq., the building of the "Griffin" in 1679 in the calm waters above Niagara Falls.  La Salle built the ship to carry his expedition and supplies through the Great Lakes and carved a griffin for its figurehead.  He did this in honor of his patron, Count Frontenac; the griffin was a portion of the count's armorial bearings.  This was the first whiteman's ship to navigate the great waters which enclose and are enclosed by Michigan. It sailed through Lake Erie, up the Detroit River, past the site of the future city, through Lake St. Clair, up the St. Clair River, through Lake Huron; it stopped at the settlement at Michillimacinac (Macinac Island), visited St. Ignace, sailed into Green Bay and down into Lake Michigan.



The crest for color bearing organizations of the State of Michigan was approved on 9 August 1924.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia




On a blue shield 2 7/8 inches (7.30 cm) in height and 2 3/8 inches (6.03 cm) in width, a yellow griffin segreant on a twist of yellow and blue.



The shoulder sleeve insignia is adapted from the crest of the Michigan Army National Guard.  The griffin is a symbol of vigilance and readiness.  As the original exploration and settlement within the State was French, the twists of the wreath are yellow (gold) and blue.



The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Michigan National Guard on 7 March 1949.  It was redesignated on 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Michigan Army National Guard.  (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-485)


Distinctive Unit Insignia




A gold metal and enamel device 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in height consisting of a wavy blue U-shaped scroll inscribed in gold letters with the motto "WITH HONOR WE SERVE," the ends turned inward and conjoined with the lower side petals of a blue fleur-de-lis with central section formed by a white spearhead, the shaft of the spear surmounted below the head by a blue disc bearing a gold griffin segreant and terminating in base upon the center of the scroll.



The griffin, a symbol of vigilance and readiness, is adapted from the crest of the Michigan Army National Guard and the spear at center symbolizes the defensive mission of the National Guard.  The wavy blue scroll signifies the waters in and around Michigan and the simulated fleur-de-lis alludes to the French heritage of the state.



The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and noncolor bearing units of the Michigan Army National Guard on 4 November 1971. The insignia was redesignated effective 30 December 1983, for Headquarters, State Area Command, Michigan Army National Guard.


Michigan Indian Communities


Bay Mills Indian Community, Michigan



Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Michigan



Hannahville Indian Community, Michigan


Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan



Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Michigan



Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan



Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan


formerly Gun Lake Indian Tribe) / formerly Gun Lake Village Band & Ottawa Colony Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians


Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Michigan

(formerly the Huron Potawatomi, Inc.)

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan



Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan



Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana




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 © Hubert de Vries  2017-04-24



[1] Shankle, Georg Earlie: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and other Symbols. The H.W. Wilson Comp.. New York, 1951.

[2] Laws of the Territory of Michigan. Detroit, 1820. P. 376.

[3] Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895.Pp. 144-145

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