The History of the Oklahoma State Flag
When Oklahoma became a state on November 16, 1907, it didn’t have a flag. The first flag of the state was adopted in 1911. This flag consisted of a white star with the number 46 inside of it, on top of a red background.
The red background represented Oklahoma’s Native American population. The white star and the number 46 represented Oklahoma’s admission to the Union as the 46th state.
This flag design stayed as the official flag of Oklahoma until 1925. After World War I, many in Oklahoma wanted to redesign the flag. Some felt that it was akin to waving a “red flag of sedition.” With Oklahoma beginning to take the lead in the finance sector, no one wanted to be accused of being un-American.
Others simply believed that it wasn’t a very good match for the historical significance of the Oklahoma territory.
Regardless of their reasons, the people of Oklahoma wanted to change the flag. A contest for the next design of the Oklahoma state flag was organized by the state historical society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The flag design that ended up winning the contest was created by Louise Funk. Funk’s design was radically different from the previous version of the flag. The largest deviations were the sky-blue field and the use of overt Native American imagery.
The centerpiece of Funk’s design was the circular rawhide shield of an Osage Indian warrior. The crosses on the face of the shield are the Indian symbol for stars. Crossed over the front of the shield were a calumet, or peace pipe, and an olive branch. Hanging down from the shield were seven pendant eagle feathers.
Funk’s flag design was adopted by the tenth meeting of the Oklahoma legislature on April 2, 1925. The flag remained unchanged until 1941, when the word “Oklahoma” in white was added underneath the shield. In 2006, the Oklahoma legislature codified the colors for all of the different symbols in a joint statute (25 OS § 91).
The Meaning of the Oklahoma Flag
So what do all of these different symbols mean?
The sky blue background of the flag stands for devotion. The shield has two different meanings. As just a shield by itself, it stands for defensive warfare. As an Osage warrior’s shield, it represents the groups of Native Americans that call Oklahoma home. More than 200,000 Native Americans live in Oklahoma: more than 40 different tribes have their tribal headquarters in Oklahoma.
Even though the shield typifies defensive warfare, it is always surmounted by and subservient to the peace pipe and the olive branch. The crossed peace pipe and olive branch represent the love of peace on the part of a united people. In this case, that means the Native Americans who originally lived here and the Europeans who came to settle here.
Here at Vispronet, we’re proud to offer our version of the Oklahoma flag. We strove to get it as close to the original as possible. Features of our state flags include:
- Durable polyester construction thanks to our Polyflag material.
- Metal grommets for hanging.
- Four different flagpole options.
- Flag of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma State Flag
- Chronicles of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Statutes
- Oklahoma Indian nations pocket pictorial directory