Oklahoma Symbols: History And Significance

Oklahoma is a state that is steeped in rich history and cultural traditions. From the earliest Native American tribes to the present-day bustling cities, Oklahoma has a lot to offer. One of the fascinating aspects of Oklahoma’s history is the state symbols, which capture the essence of the state and its people. In this article, we’ll delve into the history and significance of Oklahoma’s symbols.

The Design of the Oklahoma State Flag

The Oklahoma state flag is a blue field with a traditional Osage Nation buffalo-skin shield in the center, adorned with six white crosses. The blue represents devotion, while the shield represents the Native American heritage of Oklahoma. The six white crosses on the shield represent high ideals, while the olive branch and the ceremonial pipe signify peace. The state motto, “Labor omnia vincit,” meaning “Labor conquers all things,” appears on a ribbon beneath the shield.

The History Behind the Design

The Oklahoma state flag was adopted on April 2, 1925, and its design was created by Louise Fluke, who won a contest to design the flag. The Osage Nation buffalo-skin shield was chosen because it represents Oklahoma’s early history and the state’s connection to Native American tribes. The six white crosses symbolize the high ideals of Oklahoma’s people, while the olive branch and ceremonial pipe represent peace and unity.

Significance of the Flag to the People of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma state flag is an important symbol to the people of Oklahoma, representing the state’s rich history and diverse cultures. The flag is also a source of pride for Oklahomans, reminding them of the state’s hardworking and resilient spirit. The state motto on the flag, “Labor omnia vincit,” reflects the state’s commitment to hard work and perseverance, which has helped it overcome challenges throughout its history. Whether at sporting events or public gatherings, the Oklahoma state flag is a symbol of unity and community for the people of the Sooner State.

Oklahoma’s State Bird: The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Oklahoma’s state bird is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a stunning bird with a long, forked tail. This bird is easily recognizable by its striking plumage, with a pale gray head and back, salmon-colored sides, and a white breast. The bird’s most distinctive feature is its long tail feathers, which can be up to eight inches long and are typically a bold shade of pink. These feathers help the bird balance and steer in flight, making it an expert aerial acrobat.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher holds a special place in the hearts of Oklahomans. Not only is it a beautiful and beloved bird, but it also serves as a symbol of the state’s resilience and adaptability. The bird’s range has expanded in Oklahoma over the years, and it has adapted to human-modified landscapes, making it a testament to the state’s ability to thrive in the face of change. Additionally, the bird’s graceful and agile movements are reminiscent of Oklahoma’s pioneering and adventurous spirit. For these reasons and more, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a fitting choice for Oklahoma’s state bird.

Fun Facts about the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher:

  • The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is also known as the Texas Bird-of-Paradise.
  • They are known to eat insects, lizards, and even small birds!
  • The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher’s scientific name is Tyrannus forficatus.
  • The bird’s long tail feathers make up half of its total body length.

So, if you’re lucky enough to spot a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Oklahoma, take a moment to appreciate the bird’s beauty and the important role it plays in the state’s history and culture.

Oklahoma’s Beautiful State Flower: The Oklahoma Rose

Name and Description of the Oklahoma State Flower

The Oklahoma state flower is the Oklahoma Rose. It is a beautiful, fragrant, and colorful rose that blooms in late spring or early summer. The rose has five petals, ranging in color from deep red to light pink, and a golden center. It is a hybrid tea rose, which means it is a cross between two different types of roses. The Oklahoma Rose has a strong and sweet fragrance that is loved by many.

The History Behind the Selection of the Flower

In 2004, the Oklahoma legislature officially designated the Oklahoma Rose as the state flower. The rose was chosen because of its beauty, resilience, and historical significance. The Oklahoma Rose was first introduced in 1964 by Herbert Swim, a rose breeder from Oklahoma. Swim created the rose to honor his home state and named it the ‘Oklahoma’ rose. The rose quickly gained popularity and was recognized as one of the most beautiful and strongest roses ever created. It became the perfect representation of the state’s spirit and was therefore chosen as the official state flower.

Significance of the Flower to the People of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Rose represents the strength and beauty of the people of Oklahoma. Just like the state’s residents, the rose is resilient and can withstand harsh weather and conditions. It is a reminder of the state’s spirit and its ability to thrive in the toughest of times. The Oklahoma Rose is also a symbol of love and appreciation for the state’s natural beauty. Many Oklahomans plant the Oklahoma Rose in their gardens as a way to show their pride for their state. It is a beautiful addition to any landscape and a true representation of Oklahoma’s rich history and culture.

Oklahoma State Animal: American Bison

The American Bison

The American bison, also known as the American buffalo, was named the official state animal of Oklahoma in 1972. This magnificent animal is a symbol of strength, endurance, and freedom, which are all values that the people of Oklahoma hold dear. The American bison is a massive mammal that can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and can stand up to six feet tall at the shoulder. They are known for their shaggy, dark brown fur and their large, curved horns.

The History Behind the Selection

The American bison played a significant role in the history of Oklahoma. These massive animals once roamed freely across the Great Plains, providing food and clothing for Native American tribes. However, due to overhunting and habitat loss, the bison was nearly driven to extinction in the late 1800s. In an effort to preserve the species, a group of conservationists worked to establish a herd of bison in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in the early 1900s. Today, the refuge is home to one of the largest herds of free-ranging bison in the world.

Significance to the People of Oklahoma

The American bison is more than just a state symbol for Oklahoma – it is a source of pride and a reminder of the state’s rich history. The bison represents the resilience and strength of the people who call Oklahoma home, as well as the importance of conservation and preserving our natural resources. Today, the American bison remains an important part of Oklahoma’s culture and heritage, and serves as a reminder of the state’s unique character and spirit.

Oklahoma State Tree: Redbud

Oklahoma’s state tree is the redbud, also known as Cercis canadensis. This deciduous tree is known for its vibrant pink to purple flowers that bloom in early spring before its leaves emerge. The redbud tree can grow up to 30 feet tall and is commonly found in Oklahoma’s forests and along stream banks.

The redbud was chosen as Oklahoma’s state tree in 1937 due to its prevalence throughout the state and its significance to the Native American culture. The tree is also known for its ability to adapt to Oklahoma’s harsh weather conditions, making it a resilient symbol of the state’s spirit.

For the people of Oklahoma, the redbud represents more than just a state symbol. It is a reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature, and the importance of adaptation and endurance in the face of adversity. The tree’s vibrant flowers also provide a sense of hope and renewal in the spring, as they signal the start of a new season and the promise of growth and new beginnings.

The Oklahoma State Song: “Oklahoma”

The Lyrics

“Oklahoma” was adopted as the official state song of Oklahoma in 1953. The lyrics were written by Oscar Hammerstein II and the music was composed by Richard Rodgers. Below are the lyrics:

Verse 1:
Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,
And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

The History

The selection of “Oklahoma” as the state song dates back to 1935 when a contest was held to find a state song. More than 500 entries were submitted, but none were chosen. It wasn’t until 18 years later that the state legislature finally declared “Oklahoma” as the official state song.

The Significance

The song “Oklahoma” holds significant meaning to the people of Oklahoma, as it celebrates the state’s beauty and spirit. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the state’s landscape and the good-natured people who call it home. It has become a symbol of pride for Oklahomans and a way to showcase their unique identity to the rest of the world. Whenever it is played, it reminds Oklahomans of the beauty and diversity of their state, and the strong bonds they share as a community.


In conclusion, Oklahoma’s state symbols are a testament to the state’s rich cultural and historical heritage. From the state bird to the state food, each symbol represents the unique identity of Oklahoma and its people. By understanding the history and significance behind these symbols, we can appreciate the beauty and diversity of this great state even more. So the next time you see the state bird soaring in the sky or enjoy a plate of Oklahoma’s state food, remember the stories and traditions that make them so special. Let’s celebrate and be proud of our Oklahoma heritage!

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