Flag of Oklahoma
|Design||Buffalo-skin shield with seven eagle feathers on a sky blue field. |
Oklahoma's first flag was adopted in 1911, four years after statehood. Taking the colors red, white, and blue from the flag of the United States, the flag featured a large centered white star fimbriated in blue on a red field. The number 46 was written in blue inside the star, as Oklahoma was the forty-sixth state to join the Union.
A contest, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, was held in 1924 to replace the flag, as red flags were closely associated with communism. The winning entry by Louise Fluke, which was adopted as the state flag on April 2, 1925, resembled the current flag without the word Oklahoma on it. That word was added in 1941 in an effort to combat widespread illiteracy.
The official design of the state flag has not changed since 1941, however, unauthorized Oklahoma flag designs became prevalent throughout the state, so much so that the correct and official design of the flag was becoming lost. These unauthorized flags displayed stylized eagle feathers, incorrectly shaped crosses, an incorrectly shaped calument, wrong colors, or combinations of these and other errors. In 2005, an Oklahoma boy scout leader designing patches for a National Jamboree contingent was looking for an image of the Oklahoma state flag and noticed that there were multiple unauthorized designs of the Oklahoma state flag displayed on state government, historical, and educational websites. With some research he was able to identify the official design to use, but because of the prevalence of unauthorized designs, he contacted his state representative, and was the impetus to standardize the colors and shapes by Oklahoma Senate Bill 1359 and signed into law by Governor Brad Henry on May 23, 2006, taking effect on November 1, 2006. 
The Osage shield is covered by two symbols of peace: the Plains-style ceremonial pipe representing Native Americans, and the olive branch representing European Americans. Six golden brown crosses, Native American symbols for stars, are spaced on the shield. The blue field is inspired by the Choctaw flag adopted by the tribe in 1860 and carried though the American Civil War. The blue field also represents devotion. The shield surmounted by the calumet and olive branch represents defensive or protective warfare, showing a love of peace by a united people.