Northern Arapaho Flag

Arapaho flag with shadowThe Arapaho were known as strong warriors and that continues to this day. They have now traded their war clubs and horses for Uzi’s and tanks and fight for both America and their tribe.

In honor of these modern warriors, the Northern Arapaho of the Wind River Reservation created a flag in 1936 and became, after the Choctaw of Oklahoma, quite possibly the second tribe to do so. The Arapaho flag is traditionally hung vertically rather than horizontally.

The Arapaho Flag was created as a sign of respect and remembrance for the Arapaho War Veterans when the Arapaho saw their young men going off to war in Europe and the Pacific. After the death of John L. Brown, the first Arapaho to lose his life in World War II, the tribal elders decided there should be a symbol of the Arapaho nation since our sons were now dying for the United States and for the Arapaho nation.

The three colors used each have a different meaning and symbolism: Red is for the People. Black so the People will be strong and fearless of death and, also, for happiness. White represents knowledge to be passed on to the young and for a long life.

The seven stripes represent one of the Seven Medicines of Life, the ceremonial and sacred ingredients of the Northern Arapaho.

The White triangle signifies the way one begins a prayer. “Hey-so-no-ne-hoe-.” “Great Spirit, that’s the way I want it.”

The circle in the exact center of the triangle is Black on the left, because that’s where the heart is.

The right side of the circle is Red representing the human side, for our happiness, strength and sorrowful ways.

The White line dividing the two spheres represents the Great Spirit so we will not forget who created us.

The entire circle represents the world, the center of our lives.

After World War II ended, the flag for the Arapaho nation was put aside until the Korean War started. At that time the Arapaho people approached the tribal elders for a flag to let everyone know that they are Arapaho.

On June 15, 1956, the flag of the Arapaho nation was adopted by the general council of the Arapahos.

This Arapaho flag still flies and still serves to represent one of the great tribes of the plains and one of the great nations of Native America.