Last modified: 2019-07-01 by rick wyatt
Keywords: rosebud sioux | sioux | south dakota | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 29 January 2008
[Click here for large photograph of flag.]
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Rosebud Sioux - South Dakota
Along South Dakota's southern border lies the sixth most populous reservation in the United States, the Rosebud Reservation, home to more than 9,600 members of various bands of the Lakota people (AIA, 43). It takes its name from Rosebud Creek.
The reservation claims one of the oldest tribal flags of any United States Indian Nation, designed in a contest in the early 1960s (James R. Aber, "Symbols of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe", The Flag Bulletin, XXXVI:2, Mar./Apr. 1997, 64-71). For a long time after the adoption of the design, the flag existed solely on paper because its complex graphics made it too expensive to manufacture.
Eventually, tribal elders approached Julie Peneaux, Secretary of the Rosebud Tribal Office, who sewed as a hobby and agreed to make a flag from the design. Peneaux is still the sole manufacturer of Rosebud Sioux flags, having sewn six (Letter, Julie Peneaux, 11 May 1995).
© Donald Healy 2008
In an elaborate design, twenty red roses in an oval ring represent the twenty Rosebud Sioux communities. Each rose bears a white Sioux tepee in its center, oriented outwards (Explanation of the Design of the Rosebud Sioux Flag, pamphlet, n.d.). The ring of roses, which is slightly wider than tall, encircles a three-layered rainbow-colored diamond, or "god's eye" figure, that stands for the reservation itself. The innermost layer is yellow, the middle blue, and the outer red. A blue cross in the center of the diamond, on white, recalls the pipe of peace and the extension of friendship to all who come to the reservation (flag provided by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Headquarters). The cross is actually a bule, two crossed lines representing the number four.
Arching over the diamond is "ROSEBUD SIOUX TRIBE" in blue, flanked by a pair of white-and-black eagle feathers above a pair of orange peace pipe heads; below it is ROSEBUD, SOUTH DAKOTA, also in blue. The feathers signify achievement of goals - an eagle feather was once only worn as a symbol of a great deed; the peace pipes allude to the peaceful relations between the Tribe and the United States. Around the outer edge is a red border of small triangles, echoing the traditional tepee with red triangles around the bottom which welcomed visitors seeking food and shelter.
The white field, for purity, represents north, from which the snows come. Red, a ceremonial color for thunder, lightning, and forms of plant and animal life, refers to the sunrise and east. Yellow, for the land of sunshine, a nickname for South Dakota, signifies south. Blue recalls water, wind, the sky, clouds, the moon, the day, and west. Black stands for the night and the mysteries of life. Although orange is without specific significance, it joins the colors red and yellow, thus bringing together the land and the plants and animals that dwell upon it.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 29 January 2008