Activists rallied outside the State House Thursday in support of three bills, including one that could lead to a new Massachusetts state flag — which currently depicts a Native American man under a broadsword — and one that would prohibit schools from using Native American mascots.

Another rally — a pro-police group — also descended on Beacon Hill, disrupting the Native American protest with chants demanding support for law enforcement.

"We must remove the seal of the state flag," Stefanie Salguero, who is Native American, told the rally. "We must ban all Native mascots. It is a mockery. It is a mockery of our strength and our bravery, and we cannot stand for it anymore."

Salguero said she attended Billerica High School, where the mascot name is the "Indians."

"How many Native students grow up taking on these mascots, wearing the mascot as an athlete, taking on the mascot in different forms?" she asked. "How many Native students do this, in complete ignorance because we are not educated about this? This is wrong."

Stefanie Salguero
Native American Stefanie Salguero addressed Thursday's rally at the State House
Craig LeMoult WGBH News

One of the bills, sponsored by Sen. Jason Lewis, would establish a commission to study the state motto and seal, which includes a Native American man holding a downward pointed arrow — an image prominently displayed on the state flag. The second bill would ban Native American team names, logos and mascots. The third would strengthen the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Another group protesting an extension of the eviction moratorium also marched outside Beacon Hill today.

Gina Alkiewicz, who is Native American, also spoke, and put the focus on the governor. "We're here today to show up and tell [Gov.] Charlie Baker, no more," Alkiewicz said. "No more Christopher Columbus at the waterfront. No more false attempts at honoring Native Americans. My people are not your mascot."

Baker was asked about the protest later in the day.

"There's a conversation that's going on, you know, in states and municipalities and in some cases at the national level, about many symbols and historical emblems," Baker said. "And if people here in Massachusetts want to pursue discussions with respect to some of those, we'd be open to talking to them about it. Obviously, it's the sort of thing that would have to be done in conjunction with our colleagues in the legislature as well. But we'd be open to those conversations."

State Rep. Lindsey Sabadosa, who sponsored the commission legislaton in the House, spoke at Thursday's rally and said she took action because her constituents met with her to tell her how much it meant to them.

"That's power," Sabadosa said. "That's people showing up and pushing their power into this building."

As she spoke, Sabadosa was shouted down by pro-police protestors holding their own rally. They tried to drown out speakers by yelling the phrase, "back the blue."

"I don't know if I can be louder than people chanting," Sabadosa said, but she carried on. And so did the counter-protesting. One of the pro-police protestors made it up on the State House steps and wound up briefly tussling with some of the people protesting Native American imagery.

One of the event's organizers, Mahtowin Munro of the organization United American Indians Of New England, responded to the counter-protest.

"For 400 years, Indigenous voices have been silenced in this state," Munro said. "And the people over here who are trying to silence us right now need to move down the street, because this is really disrespectful."

Reporting from State House News Service was used in this article.