DURANT – The inaugural Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Flag Day will take place Oct. 16, 2021 – a day which recognizes an important mark in Choctaw history. As part of the observance, everyone is invited to celebrate by flying the flag at their homes, businesses, and on their vehicles.
Last November, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Tribal Council voted unanimously to begin an annual day honoring the tribal flag. The date chosen has special meaning – Oct. 16 is the same date the Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation was adopted in 1860 at Doaksville, Okla. At the center of the Choctaw flag is the Great Seal.
“Choctaw Flag Day is a time to celebrate the importance of the flag and how it represents the culture and history of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma,” Chief Gary Batton said.
The original flag was said to be light blue with a red-edged circle with white in the center. Contained in the circle was a bow, arrows, and a peace pipe. Though the original flag was only in use for four years, from 1861-1864, it has continued to serve as a blueprint for the Choctaw flags that followed.
Each part of the seal has meaning. The unstrung bow represents both the love of peace of the Choctaw people and the willingness to go to war at a moment’s notice if attacked.
The three arrows stand for the historic chiefs – Pushmataha, Moshulatubbee, and Apukshunnubbee. These men were the leaders of the three Choctaw Districts in 1820 when the Treaty of Doak’s Stand was signed. It was in this treaty that the United States ceded the lands in present-day southeastern Oklahoma that would become the Choctaw Nation.
The hatchet-style pipe represents the desire of the Choctaw people to establish beneficial alliances with neighbors and also display prowess.
The current flag of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma follows a similar historical design but is more detailed. The inner circle of the flag is yellow, the three items at the center remain but are outlined in black, the pipe has smoke coming from the bowl, there are green cords encircling the blue ring, and the field is now purple.
Choctaw Nation flags in a variety of sizes may be purchased at Choctaw Nation Travel Plazas and stores located throughout the Choctaw Reservation in southeast Oklahoma or online at https://www.choctawstore.com/. Read about special Choctaw Flag Day giveaways on Choctaw Nation social media at https://www.choctawnation.com/choctaw-flag-day.
Activities marking this year’s historic event include a public celebration at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in front of the Choctaw Nation Headquarters in Durant. It is set to be livestreamed on Facebook. Also, a photo contest of people with Choctaw Nation flags is open to tribal members and the public. Check Choctaw Nation social media for more information and instructions on submissions.