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NATIVE AMERICAN FLAGS

The Quinault Nation

The Quinault people occupy a reservation of nearly 130,000 acres along the Pacific coast of the State of Washington (NAA, 285). The 1,200 plus Quinault are one of the many Washington State Native American nations (AIA, 38) that are classified as Coastal Salish. This differentiates them from the inland Salish such as the Couer d'Alene and Flatheads. The Quinault people, like most of the Coastal Salish have been residents of the Pacific northwest for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The rich hunting, the abundance of fishing and the mild climate were such that moving beyond these lands seemed foolish. Like most Coastal Salish, fishing was the primary occupation for tribespeople.

To accomplish this, the Quinault and others built enormous canoes. Lewis and Clark, on their famous expedition to the northwest said that the canoes "are upward of fifty feet long, and will carry 8,000 to 10,000 pounds' weight, of from 20 to 30 persons...". The seal of the Quinault Nation celebrates and commemorates these great canoes.

That seal, which appears on a plain white field to form the flag (Margie ?, letter dated Mar. 21, 1995), is light blue ring. That ring bears the word "Quinault" at the top and "Nation" at the bottom in white capital letters. Across the center is a light blue bar bearing the word "Indian" in the same script.

In the upper portion of the remainder of the central disc is a landscape that depicts an island off the Pacific coast. This recalls the geography of the land of the Quinault people. In the lower portion is an eagle, symbol of fishing prowess to many northwestern tribes above an example of the great canoes of the Quinault. Both attest to the importance of fishing even in the modern life of the Quinault. Both the eagle and canoe appear before a setting orange sun denoting the western most reaches of the continent as home to the Quinault.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603