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The Spokane Nation

Located in west, central Washington State is the Spokane Reservation. It is the primary home to the Spokane Nation, an inland Salish speaking people related to the Flathead, Couer d'Alene and similar tribes (ENAT, 252). While this is the major reservation for the Spokane people, others may be found on the nearby Colville Reservation and yet others moved to Montana and joined other Salish speaking people of the Kalispell and Flathead tribes on the Flathead Reservation.

The flag of the Spokane Tribe found on the Spokane Reservation is their centennial banner dating back to 1981 (photos supplied by NAVA member Jim White). The flag is a yellow-orange color with a red border. In the center of the flag is an oval shield beginning in the center with a blue area bearing the phrase "100 years", the "100 appearing in yellow, the word "years", in black. This is ringed by a serrated white border that meets an opposing red border. The outermost oval is tan and bears, in black letters, the name "Spokane Tribe" and six black dots.

Across the bottom of the tan border in red lettering is the phrase "Centennial Celebration" also underlined in red. Hanging from the shield are two eagle feathers. To the hoist side of the feathers is the year 1881 in black, to the fly end 1981. Across the bottom of the flag, even with the lowest portion of the feathers is the phrase "Century of Survival" in green.

Although the celebration for which the flag was adopted occurred some fifteen years ago, the Spokane continue flying the flag as their official tribal flag to this day. The flag shown NAVA member Jim White in 1996 was actually hauled down from a flagpole outside the tribal headquarters in Wellpinit, Washington. That flag appeared to be brand new, not the least bit worn indicating that either the tribe had a large stock of the flag or that after older flags had deteriorated, the centennial banner had been reordered to continue serving as a tribal flag. Amongst the a;mpst 200 nations known to be flying tribal flags this is the sole instance where a celebration banner evolved into a tribal flag.

In 2002, the Spokane Tribe. having had the only copy of its original flag stolen, adopted a brand new flag. That flag features a map of the reservation in orange, bearing the tribal seal in the center.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603