Have you seen the flag of Oklahoma? It features an Osage buffalo shield affixed with a set of eagle feathers on the bottom. Running diagonally across the buffalo shield is a traditional ceremonial peace pipe and an olive branch. This design has become synonymous with the Sooner State. While you might be familiar with the Oklahoma flag’s design, though, there are probably some things you don’t know about it.
#1) First Design Adopted Over a Century
Like many other states, Oklahoma has changed the design of its official flag over the years. It hasn’t always consisted of the aforementioned buffalo shield with a peace pipe and olive branch. Rather, the first design consisted of a blue-bordered white star with the number 46 in the center. Oklahoma adopted this design in 1911. The number 46, of course, is relevant to Oklahoma because it was the 46th state to be added to the United States.
#2) New Design Adopted in 1925
While Oklahoma’s first flag design was adopted in 1911, it didn’t last very long. Just a little over a decade later in 1925, lawmakers adopted a new design. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) held a contest seeking a replacement design. Oklahoma native Louise Fluke won the design. Fluke’s design consisted of the aforementioned buffalo skin with a peace pipe and olive branch.
#3) The Blue Background Symbolizes the Choctaw Flag and Loyalty
There’s a reason why the Oklahoma flag features a blue background; there are actually two reasons, in fact. It symbolizes the Choctaw flag, which also has a blue background. And it symbolizes loyalty. The original design adopted in 1911 featured a red background, but ever since the new design was adopted in 1925, the Oklahoma flag has featured a blue background.
#4) Oklahoma Was Added in 1941
In addition to the buffalo shield with a peace pipe and olive branch, the current version of the Oklahoma flag depicts the state’s name at the bottom. Directly below the buffalo shield is “OKLAHOMA” in all capital letters. The state’s name was added to the flag in 1941.
#5) Specifications Formalized in 2006
Specifications for the Oklahoma flag’s design were formalized in 2006. The design itself didn’t necessarily change. Prior to 2006, though, there were many unofficial versions of the flag floating around, and some of these versions had different design elements than others. This prompted Governor Brad Henry to sign a bill formalizing the flag’s specifications.