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The Oklahoma State Flag

First Oklahoma State flag
Courtesy: CAPTION

The first Oklahoma State Flag adopted in 1911 was a simple affair, its color pallette modeled after the red, white and blue of the Stars and Stripes. The 1911 flag displayed a white star, edged in blue, centered on a field of red. Inside the star, the number "46" was shown; reference to Oklahoma as the 46th state to enter the union in 1907.

The first Oklahoma State Flag flew from 1911 - 1925. It is said that the flag began to fall into disfavor after the Russion Revolution in 1917. The Red flag and single white star began to be too closely associated with symbols of Communism.

In 1924, a contest was announced to create a new design for the flag, one that more uniquely represented the diversity of cultures in the state of Oklahoma. For the state with the largest Native American population, it is easy to see why the design submitted by Mrs. George Fluke, Jr. was chosen and officially adopted by the State Legislature on April 2, 1925.

Oklahoma state flag
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The 1925 flag, essentially the same as today's state flag, prominently displays an Osage warrior's shield made from buffalo hide and decorated with seven eagle feathers hanging from the lower edge. The shield is centered on a field of blue borrowed from the blue flag that Choctaw soldiers carried during the Civil War. This flag honors more than 60 groups of Native Americans and their ancestors.

The shield is decorated with six white crosses (stars) representing high ideals. Superimposed over the shield are symbols of peace and unity from the cultures of the Native American and European-American settlers in the territory; the calumet or ceremonial peace pipe and the olive branch.

The flag design was revisited in 1941. The state name "OKLAHOMA" was ammended to the 1925 design and is displayed in white letters below the shield. This change was not popular in some circles as it was felt that the design of the Oklahoma State Flag was significantly unique without this reminder.

In 1988, the Oklahoma State Legislature again addressed the design of the state flag. Variations in color among manufacturers did not properly align with the spirit of the design and the 41st Oklahoma Legislature voted to rectify this:

Oklahoma Flag Law

The following information was excerpted from the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 25.

Title 25. Definitions and General Provisions

A sky blue field with a circular rawhide shield of an American Indian Warrior, decorated with six painted crosses on the face thereof, the lower half of the shield to be fringed with seven pendant eagle feathers and superimposed upon the face of the shield a calumet or peace pipe, crossed at right angles by an olive branch, as illustrated by the design accompanying this resolution, and underneath said shield or design in white letters shall be placed the word "Oklahoma", and the same is hereby adopted as the official flag and banner of the State of Oklahoma

1. The Osage Indian warrior’s circular rawhide shield of amber buckskin is center upon a field of French Blue. On the face of the shield shall be six small gold brown crosses that match the thongs lacing the edge of the shield. The vertical bar of each cross shall be twenty-five percent (25%) longer than the horizontal bar, the lower width line of which shall be placed at the fifty percent (50%) mark of the vertical bar and the top width line shall be placed at the top twenty-five percent (25%) mark of the vertical bar. The width of the horizontal bar shall be seventy-five percent (75%) of the vertical bar;

2. The edge of the lower half of the shield shall be fringed with seven pendant eagle feathers of white tipped with gold brown;

3. Across the face of the shield at right angle shall be a calumet or Indian pipe of peace, which shall have a ruby red bowl, flesh stem and be decorated with a ruby red tassel at the end. Above the calumet, lying at a right angle shall be an olive branch of Dartmouth green; and

4. The name Oklahoma in white letters shall appear under the shield on the face of the flag.

1. Pantone Matching System, Pantone Inc., latest edition:

a. field: French Blue PMS 285c,

b. shield: amber PMS 465c,

c. feathers shading: flesh and gold brown combination PMS 486c and PMS 174c,

d. crosses and thongs: gold brown PMS 174c, and

e. calumet: stem of pipe flesh PMS 486c, body of pipe and tassel ruby red PMS 195c, and olive branch Dartmouth green PMS 554c; and

2. Colors shall be colorfast and shall not bleed one into another. Added by Laws 1925, c. 234, p. 340, § 1. Amended by Laws 1941, p. 90, § 1; Laws 2006, c. 181, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2006.

Every officer, board or person having jurisdiction over the main administration building of any public institution in this state, shall have the flag of the State of Oklahoma displayed on the respective administration building every day except Sunday and when the weather is inclement. Laws 1953, p. 99, § 1.

It shall be the duty of the district boards or boards of education of every public school in this state, to cause the flag of the State of Oklahoma to be displayed during every school day from a flagstaff or pole, except that the flag need not be displayed in inclement weather. Laws 1953, p. 99, § 2.

Statehood Day, the 16th day of November of each year, is also designated as the official Oklahoma State Flag Day, and it is recommended that said day be observed by the people of this state by the display of the official flag of the State of Oklahoma and in such other ways as will be in harmony with the general character of the day. Laws 1968, p. 823, H.J.R.No. 563, § 1, emerg. eff. April 29, 1968.

It shall be the duty of all state agencies and boards of education of this state to display the state flag with the standard design and colors as specified in Section 91 of Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Added by Laws 2006, c. 181, § 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2006.


Source: Oklahoma Legislature, Oklahoma Statutes, (http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/osStatuesTitle.html), October 31, 2007.
Source: Flags of the Fifty States and Their Incredible Histories: The Complete Guide to America's Most Powerful Symbols by Randy Howe. The Lyons Press; First edition edition (November 1, 2002).
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer. Greenwood Press; 3 Sub edition (October 30, 2001).
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle. Reprint Services Corp; Revised edition (June 1971).


Additional Information

Oklahoma (U.S.): FOTW "Flags of the World" Web Site.

State Flags: Complete list of state flags with links to large pictures and images suitable for coloring.

Flag Terminology: The parts of a flag and terms associated with its design.

Visit Our Flag Shop: Purchase all kinds of flags and banners, lapel pins, 50 state flag sets, decals, patches, college banners at the Flag Shop.

Purchase Oklahoma State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.

Flags of the Fifty States and their Incredible Histories: A complete guide to America's most powerful symbols by Randy Howe.

How Proudly They Wave: Flags of the Fifty States: This book, by Rita D. Haban, is geared toward younger readers.

 
 

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