Take pride in the Choctaw Nation’s flag
Published October 16, 2023
By Chief Gary Batton
Last week, I had a unique opportunity to travel to France to meet with government officials for nation building and to pay our Nation’s respects to five Choctaw soldiers who lost their lives in World War I.
The four-day battle of St. Etienne, France claimed the lives of five young Tvshka Chahta: Corporal Nicholas E. Brown, Private First-Class Edmond Fobb, Private First Class Simeon Cusher, Private Sampson Ward and Private Edmund Cooper. The Choctaw Nation participated in the 105th Anniversary of the battle at the location where these Tvshka Chahta are buried at the American Cemetery in France. I had an opportunity to express what these brave men meant to the Choctaw Nation as well as the United States.
As I left the ceremony, I felt a sense of pride in our people, and our Nation. The Chahta Spirit of Faith, Family and Culture was on display at the event. It reminded me that our Choctaw people have always answered the call when there is a need. Our Nation offers a helping hand during dire times, and we never expect anything in return – that is the Chahta way. We only ask that others respect our sovereign Nation and honor the agreements that our ancestors secured.
Choctaw pride is a feeling, a way of life and it flows through the blood of every tribal member of this Nation. Our ancestors fought and died for every speck of soil that we now call our home. It is our right as a sovereign Nation to be good stewards of our Nation and honor the history for our people and future generations.
A reminder of our history and traditions is on display in everything we do at the Choctaw Nation through our Great Seal. On October 16, 1860, the Choctaw General Council, led by Chief George Hudson, passed an act at the regular annual session held at Doaksville, that created the Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation.
The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation, which consists of an unstrung bow symbolizing a peaceful Nation; encompassing three arrows honoring our three Chiefs Pushmataha, Mushulatubbe, and Apukshunabbe; and a smoking pipe-hatchet that represents the desire of the Choctaw people to establish beneficial alliances with neighbors, but also perhaps prowess. The seal has been used on all official papers of the Choctaw Nation since 1860. The seal is a guide for visitors to the Nation to see what we stand for, our traditions and culture.
We mark the day our official seal was created with Choctaw Nation’s Official Flag Day, which is held annually on Oct. 16. I encourage everyone to take some time to understand the meaning of our flag. Our flag of purple with the Great Seal in the center is not just a piece of material, but the symbol our sovereign Nation has chosen to represent the Nation to our people and to the rest of the world.
Take pride in our people, our Choctaw Nation, and our flag on this Choctaw Flag Day. We owe it to our ancestors, our tribal members, and the future generations of the Choctaw Nation. We are Choctaw Proud. As I told those in attendance at the American Cemetery in France, “Much like our Choctaw ancestors before them, our tribe has always exhibited a servant’s heart. The Choctaw Nation has answered the call time and time again when someone needs help, comfort, or a safe place.”
These are the virtues that the Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation represents.
Yakoke and God Bless!