The state flag of Oklahoma was adopted on April 2, 1925. The flag is rectangular with a blue background. In the center of the flag is buffalo-skin shield traditional to the Native American Osage tribe. The shield contains six brown crosses and seven eagle fathers. A Native American peace pipe and an olive branch appear in front of the shield. The text “OKLAHOMA” appears below the shield in white letters.
The flag of Oklahoma is unique to the state and the elements of the flag are significant. The buffalo-skin shield represents the Osage tribe, a group of Native Americans that originated in the Ohio River valley, but moved west to Oklahoma during the mid-1600s. Throughout the 1700s, the Osage tribe was the dominant Native American tribe in the area of the United States that is now Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Today, the Osage tribe mainly resides in Osage County, Oklahoma.
Six brown crosses—the Native American symbol for stars—appear on the shield and represent high ideals. The Native American peace pipe, or calumet, and the olive branch represent both the Native American and European symbols for peace. The blue background of the flag commemorates the Choctaw, the first Native American Nation to wave an official flag. The Choctaw Nation also served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The text “OKLAHOMA,” that appears in white letters below the shield was added to the flag in 1941.
The current flag of Oklahoma is quite different from the state’s original banner, which was adopted in 1911, four years after Oklahoma became an official state in the Union. The original flag was rectangular with a red background. A white, five-pointed star with a blue border appeared in the center of the flag. The number “46” appeared in blue in the center of the star, representing Oklahoma’s entry into the Union as the 46th state.