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Historical Flags of Oklahoma (U.S.)

Last modified: 2012-05-18 by rick wyatt
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1911-1924 Oklahoma Red Flag

[1911 Flag of Oklahoma] image by Jaume Ollé

John Fetzer posted me a photocopy from a book flags of the United States with the 1911-1924 Oklahoma red flag. The star is white fimbriated blue with blue number 46 into the star. Before Oklahoma was the Indian Territory. probably it did not have its own flag.
Jaume Ollé

14 Flags Over Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The 14 flags that have flown over what is now the state of Oklahoma characterize the state's unique history, said Rep. Wayne Pettigrew. Yet, not all the flags are displayed and some are displayed inaccurately. The Edmond Republican plans to introduce legislation to remedy flag inaccuracies and restore the original symbols of those nations and governments which influenced the cultural heritage of the state of Oklahoma. According to the state Department of Central Services, 13 flags now fly in the Capitol Flag Plaza, located on the south side of the Capitol. Gov. Frank Keating recently chose to display Oklahoma flags on the fourteen flagpoles.

In addition to the current United States of America flag, Pettigrew's legislation would require the following flags, standards or banners to be displayed at the State Capitol Building:

  • Coronado's Royal Standard of Spain 1541
  • the Great Union of Great Britain Flag of 1663
  • the French Royal Standard of 1719
  • the Standard of the Spanish Empire of 1763
  • the Standard of Napoleon's French Republic of 1800
  • the 15-star United States of America Flag of 1818
  • the Republic of Mexico Flag, which flew over the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1821 to1836
  • the Republic of Texas Flag, which flew over the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1836 to 1839
  • the Lone Star Flag of Texas, which flew over the Oklahoma Panhandle from 1839 to 1850
  • the Flag of the Choctaw Indian Nation, carried by Choctaw Nation Confederate Troops from 1861 to 1865
  • the Oklahoma State Flag adopted by the State Legislature in 1911
  • and the Oklahoma State Flag adopted by the State Legislature in 1925.
In 1988, the Legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution 48, which mandated the display of the 14 flags that have flown over Oklahoma territories. However, the resolution became nullified in 1991 when it failed to be codified into law within 10 years. Another problem with the resolution was that it called for one of the flags flown to be the Confederate States of America Flag of 1861 to 1865. As a result, the Confederate Battle Flag, which is the image now associated with white supremacy groups, was flown on the Capitol grounds. Amid protests, the battle flag was removed and the 14th flagpole has remained bare since 1988. The controversy was due to a mistake, said Pettigrew. According to historian Tom Franzmann, the Confederate Battle Flag was never the national flag of the Confederacy and should not have been selected as an appropriate flag to be displayed.

As part of a brief submitted in a 1998 lawsuit, Franzmann stated "The flag perhaps most closely associated with the Confederate presence in the Indian Territory was the First National Flag, also known as the 'Stars and Bars'." This flag more closely resembles the United States Flag in its pattern and bears no resemblance to the battle flag. A unit of Cherokee Indians carried a version of the flag in 1862, referred to as the "Cherokee Braves Stars and Bars." Pettigrew said the proposed legislation clearly indicates that this version of the flag is the only acceptable Confederacy flag to be displayed. "I hope this bill helps to avoid future mistakes regarding which flags should be flown," he said.

Phil Nelson, 14 January 2003

In the news yesterday, KTUL-TV reported yesterday that the Oklahoma state senate approved a bill that would allow the Confederate flag to fly over the Oklahoma History Center as one of the 14 flags that flew over Oklahoma. Originally, the legislation had proposed flying the flag of the Cherokee Braves instead.
Phil Nelson, 23 April 2003