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NATIVE AMERICAN FLAGS

The Tulalip Tribes

With about 3,373 members owning a little under 11,000 (NAA, 286) acres north of Seattle, Washington, the Tulalip tribes constitute one of the many small tribes that are part of the coastal Salish speaking peoples of the Pacific northwest. The tribes are composed of both Tulalip and Snohomish people.

The Coastal Salish are one of several nations in the northwest whose artwork defines the image of northwestern tribes in the minds around the world. These are the people of totem poles, elaborate masks, carvings and decorated boats and canoes. They are the fisherman who live for the salmon, the orca (okay, the orca is not a fish, but you get the idea) and the bounty of Puget Sound.

The close association between the people and the life of the Sound is dramatically exhibited in the flag of the Tulalip Tribes.

On a simple white field is displayed an orca, or killer whale, both a symbol of strength and power, and a major source of food in the traditional life of the Tulalip people and many of their neighbors in the Washington State area. The representation of the killer whale is in the traditional art style of the northwest tribes (see the Makah tribe for another example) and depicted in just black and white coloring. In keeping with European heraldic rules (though probably just a coincidence, the whale faces the hoist or pole end of the flag)

Arcing over the killer whale's back in red sans serif letters is the tribe's name. The two words in the title are separated by the large dorsal fin of the killer whale which identifies him a male of the species.

Thanks to the Tulalip tribal members attending the meeting of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians for allowing NAVA member Harry Oswald to photograph their beautiful flag.

This particular flag, with its red-white-black colors combined with gold fringe incorporates the four traditional colors of the Native American from all corners of the United States.

In 1998, the logo of the Tulalip nation underwent some small alterations. Although not specifically stated, it is most likely that the flag of the Tulalip will be altered to reflect these changes.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603