Last modified: 2002-09-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | native american | muskogee | creek |
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by Jesse Sierke, 22 June 2000
I would like to offer the following information from William Augustus Bowles, Director General of the Creek Nation, by J. Leitch Wright, Jr, (copyright 1967, University of Georgia Press, pp. 56-7) regarding a Native American flag dating from the late eighteenth century:
"A new flag was displayed here on Wednesday, that of the Creek nation, worn by the vessel carrying General Bowles and the Indian chiefs to the American continent."... Another reason Bowles lingered in Nassau was to procure a flag for his vessel. The local shops were quite out of Muskogee banners, and one had to be made to his description: he specified that a blue cross be superimposed on a red background; the blue background of the upper left hand corner had a sun with human features resembling both an American Indian and Bowles himself. Legally only vessels flying this banner or authorized by Panton's [of the British company Panton and Leslie, made famous in American history by their summary execution at the hands of U.S. General Andrew Jackson during the Creek War] concession could trade with the Florida Indians.I have no doubt that this source documents an authentic early flag of the Muskogee Nation. However, I wonder about the accuracy of the flag's description. Either it is accurate and the flag seems rather ungainly with a blue canton undifferentiated from an adjacent blue cross, or more likely, the author inadvertently reversed the red and blue in the first part of the description, or perhaps accidently substituted blue for red in the canton. None of the descriptions adhere to the rules of heraldry so closely followed by Great Britain at the time. This leads me to believe that the flag may have already been in use for some time by the Muskogee people.