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NATIVE AMERICAN FLAGS

The Tonkawa

The modern Tonkawa nation are descendants of at least twenty scattered bands that called what is now eastern and central Texas home. The word Tonkawa was the name given to one of the principal bands by the neighboring Wacos (AIA, 87-88). The people known as the Tonkawa called themselves "Titska Waticsh" which sort of means "the most human of people". Since 1884 the Tonkawa have lived in northern Oklahoma near the Ponca (ENAT, 239-240) and today number around 1,300 strong (REAI, 32).

The flag of the Tonkawa is bright or "Royal" blue. It bears the seal of the Tonkawa in the center and has "Tonkawa Tribe" written in white across the top and "Oklahoma", also in white, across the bottom (sample flag proviided by the Homer Miller Co., Oklahoma City, OK).

The seal is circular, recalling the "circle of life" and bears a stylized bird in outline pointing toward the top of the flag. The bird is divided inn half, vertically, pink to the left, blue to the right. Behind the bird, which has served in several formats as the logo of the Tonkawa is a full color representation of a peacepipe with a brown mouthpiece, black pipe head, brown stem with blue, yellow aand red beadwork adorning the length of the stem. Behind this bird's head can be seen a rising yellow sun with ten yellow rays. Above this is a red crescent moon with points facing downward. The old seal from prior to the 1990s consisted of just this moon and the divided bird symbols. The sun and moon appear on a white background white the bulk of the bird and the pipe lie upon a red lower half of the circle. At the center, the red surges upward into the sun forming a red hill. The red earth refers to the state's name which is a Muskogee word for "Red People" (ENAT, 63) so Oklahoma is the "Land of the Red People".

Surrounding the seal is a narrow white band. Across the top half is the phrase "Seal of the Tonkawa Tribe", below is "April 21, 1938". The date is separated from the tribe's name by a dozen balck stars, six on either side.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603