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The Flag of the Chickasaw

The Chickasaw Nation constitutes one of the five so-called "civilized" nations of Oklahoma. These tribes, as well as many others, were forcibly evicted by the United States to what was then called the Indian Territory (ENAT, 53-54).

The Chickasaw Nation was constituted at Tishomingo, Oklahoma on March 4, 1856. Its constitution was adopted August 16, 1867 and its tribal seal designed some forty years later in 1907 (FBUS, 255-256). The original capital of the Chickasaw, Tishomingo, was named for the last great war chief from the days when the Chickasaw lived in the southeastern part of the United States. Tishomingo dominates the tribal seal and the flag as well.

The flag of the Chickasaw Nation is indigo and bears a full color representation of the seal of the nation (Sample flag provided by the Chickasaw Nation, Tishomingo, OK). The orange (or gold) and light purple bands symbolize the purity and honor of theChickasaw people. The warrior, besides representing the beloved Tishomingo, stands for all Chickasaw ("The Great Seal of the Chickasaw Nation", undated, unsigned letter from The Chickasaw Nation HQ). Tishomingo carries two arrows. These stand for the two historical divisions of the Chickasaw, the forest dwellers and the town dwellers. Tishomingo wears four head feathers, representing the four prime directions of the compass. The bow, traditionally made of hickory, symbolizes the hunting prowess of the Chickasaw warrior and his willingness to defend his people. The quiver made of deerskin and decorated with white fur reinforces these same ideals. Stretching across Chief Tishomingo's shoulder is a warrior's mantle which was traditionally made of swan feathers.

Tishomingo's shield, made of deerskin, symbolizes the protection Chickasaw warriors offer their people. The kneestraps, also of deerhide, represent the fleetness of the Chickasaw warrior (NAVA, Mar/Apr 1989).

The river in the background recalls the Mississippi, a Chickasaw word meaning "without source". The foliage represents the flora found along the Mississippi, the ancient homeland of the Chickasaw.

Although the Chickasaw have been in Oklahoma for almost 150 years, their tribal seal, and therefore their flag recall their days in the east, a time where their heritage blossomed, their history, pride and glory achieved its zenith, a time that they will not forget. Their hearts still lie along the banks of the Mississippi, though they do not.

The Chickasaw Nation sells copies of its flag. You may contact them at: Chickasaw Tribal Legislature, P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74820, or phone them at (405) 436-2603

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603