Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: arapaho | wyoming | native american |
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image by Kjell Roll Elgsaas, 3 October 1997
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Arapaho - Wyoming
The Arapaho are believed to have migrated from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in the early 1700s (ENAT, 17-19). During the 1800s, the Arapaho people divided into northern and southern groups. The southern Arapaho have combined with the southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma to form the current Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation. The northern Arapaho remain a distinct tribal entity although they share the Wind River Reservation in northwestern Wyoming with the Shoshone.
The origin of the name is uncertain. It may have derived from the Shawnee tirapihu, or "trader", or from the Kiowa term for them, Ahyato. The Arapaho called themselves Inuna-ina, "our people". The Arapaho of the Wind River Reservation may be one of the first Tribes to adopt a flag. The flag of the Arapaho (History of the Arapaho Flag) dates from the 1940s when the Arapaho saw their young men going off to war in Europe and the Pacific. After the death of the first Arapaho soldier in World War II, John L. Brown, the tribal elders decided there should be a distinct symbol of the Arapaho since their sons were now dying not only for the United States but also for the Arapaho Nation.
© Donald Healy 2008
The elders designed a flag of seven stripes representing seven ceremonial and sacred ingredients. At the top of the flag (at that time flown vertically) a white triangle contained a circular device of red, white, and black-red because they are human beings and Arapaho; white because they want a long life; and black because they seek happiness.
After the war's end, the concept of a flag for the Arapaho Nation faded until the Korean War, when Arapahos asked their tribal elders to adopt a flag to identify the Arapaho. On 15 June 1956 the current flag of the Arapaho Nation was adopted by the general council of the Arapahos. That flag consists of seven stripes, the central stripe one-half the width of the other six. The two outermost stripes are red, the second and sixth stripes are white, the third and fifth stripes are black, and the central narrow stripe is white. At the left is a white triangle edged in black. It bears a circle of red over black separated by a narrow white band.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 23 December 2007