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Chinook Indian Nation, Oregon (U.S.)

Native American

Last modified: 2020-12-26 by rick wyatt
Keywords: chinook indian nation | oregon | native american |
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[flag of the Chinook Indian Nation, Oregon] image provided by Portland Flag Association, 20 December 2020

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The Flag

Adopted January 2003, a stylized Chinook salmon in the style of Northwest Coast Indian art appears in black and red on a field of white. Centered on its stomach are the contours of a human face.

The Chinook salmon denotes the eponymous Chinook tribe. The human face denotes the close and vital association between the Chinook people and their historic source of sustenance.

The flag adoption came about when TME Co., a New Milford, Conn., firm owned by Peter Orenski, offered consultation and a number of free flags to tribes adopting a flag design. The existing tribal logo was placed on a field of white, but reversing the orientation of the salmon to face the hoist—a heraldic convention which ensures that the animal points forward when the flag is carried in a parade.

The cultural affairs committee of the Chinook Tribe, led by Tony Johnson. An accomplished artist and canoe carver, he had created the logo himself several years before. At the time of the flag’s design, Johnson worked for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde in Oregon as its culture department’s education coordinator, teaching the nearly extinct Chinook language to children and adults.

The Chinook Tribe has struggled for years in its pursuit of federal recognition; the flag creates a banner for members to rally around. Dick Basch, formerly on the Chinook Tribal Council, now active in the leadership of the Clatsop-Nehalem, and since 2003 the American Indian Liaison to the National Lewis & Clark Historic Trail, played a role in encouraging both tribes to adopt their flags. He is descended from Coboway, chief of the Clatsops, to whom Meriwether Lewis gave Fort Clatsop in March 1806.

Source: “Local Encounter Tribes Adopt Flags”, Ted Kaye, Newsletter, Oregon Chapter—Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Nov. 2003.

Portland Flag Association, 20 December 2020