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Alaska State Motto

North to the Future Language:English
Translation:  Originator:Richard Peter, 1963

What is a motto?

Merriam-Webster Online defines motto in this way:

State mottoes may be said to reflect the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state, or more accurately, the citizens of the state when they were adopted. State mottoes can help us gain insight into the history of a state.

Adoption of the Alaska State Motto

The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.

In 1963, as the 100-year anniversary of this purchase was approaching, a commission was formed to organize a celebration. As one of the events leading up to the celebration, the Alaska Centennial Commission sponsored a contest to come up with a centennial motto and emblem that would express the unique character of the State of Alaska. They offered a $300.00 prize to the winning entry. 761 entries were received by the Commission. In December 1963, the commission announced that they had selected Juneau newsman Richard Peter's suggestion: North to the Future.

The Alaska Legislature officially adopted North to the Future as the official motto of Alaska in 1967, during Alaska's Purchase Centennial celebration.

About the Alaska State Motto

The motto represents a forward-looking optimism, a state of promise. Richard Peter is quoted that the motto

"...is a reminder that beyond the horizon of urban clutter there is a Great Land beneath our flag that can provide a new tomorrow for this century's 'huddled masses yearning to be free.' "

The motto also promotes the State of Alaska, advising that the future lies with the state to the north of the "lower 48".

The Alaska Statutes 2004

The following information is excerpted from the Alaska Statutes 2004, Title 44, Chapter 44.09, Section 44.09.045.

Additional Information

State Motto List: List of all of the state mottoes.

State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002


Source: Alaska Blue Book, (http://sled.alaska.edu/akfaq/aksymb.html), March 3, 2005
Source: Merriam-Webster Online, (http://www.m-w.com/), March 3, 2005
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002

 

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