American Indian Sovereign Nation Flag Order

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I had a great question from a former Marine friend of mine. If you are a friend of mine of Facebook it’s possible that you saw the discussion since it was on my personal page, but I’d like to present it here with all the info I learned after doing some research.

Question 1: A Color Guard wants to march in and come to the center of the arena and while marking time, rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise about the center of the flag line so that they are now facing the audience and halt… What is the command to rotate? I would assume that the Color Guard is in a “Forward March” mode to the center, “Mark Time” and then the Rotation command is? And what movement would you recommend to exit the arena?

Answer: No need to call the Mark Time. “Forward March” and the team marches to where they need to rotate at that rotation point (and you explained the rotation well- it’s on the center of the team, not an end) the command is “Left Wheel, March” the team takes one more right step and then on the next left begins marking time while the line is rotated to the left. Same thing if the team needs to rotate to the right. It take about 8 steps to rotate 90-degrees and the American flag bearer (the NCO in charge of colors- the one calling commands), around the 8th step, would then call “Colors Halt” on two left steps or, if the team needs to move forward in the new direction, he would call “Forward March” and then halt. “Present Arms” is next, and then back to right shoulder (you probably say “Order Arms”- not a big deal, the command is actually “Right Shoulder, Arms,” but many do not understand this). If you need to rotate another 90-degrees to go back the way you came, the US flag bearer calls, “Left Wheel, March” and the team marks time while rotating. Again, around the 8th step, the command would be “Forward March” and the team steps off to head back. There are a couple of different ways to exit the arena and the easiest to explain would be to have the team halt before they enter the doorway or low clearance area, order arms and then fall out. If they can do all of that out of site- all the better.

Question 2: Thanks… Our team has been asked to present the colors each night of a three day rodeo. We’re planning for a 5 member team: United States, Salish-Kootenai Nation Canada and two rifle bearers.
I know that I have seen it both ways and probably makes little difference, but with the rifle bearers at “Shoulder Arms” rifles to the outside or both at “Right Shoulder Arms”… Is there a preference or a reason behind having them on the outside?
Answer: Outside shoulder- just like the Tomb Guards at Arlington, out of respect for the colors/deceased. When calling Right Shoulder, Arms, the left rifle guard executes Left Shoulder. Make sure the colors are in this order: US, Canada and then Salish-Kootenai. The pivot point for the rotation will be the Salish-Kootenai flag bearer- he won’t move, just rotate in place while marking time.
Question 3: Okay, but that brings up another question… We are on a Reservation, of which the Salish-Kootenai is the resident Native American Tribe. They are considered a Sovereign Nation. With that in mind, would they be considered closer to home more than Canada in terms of precedence or because outside of the US they would be ranked alphabetically?
Answer: Here is what I found from here: “Tribal flags and Eagle feather staff are given the same respect as the National flag. It is a fact that Tribal sovereignty and the ruling of the US Supreme court declares Indian reservations are NOT under state jurisdiction. Therefore, State flags are normally displayed in the order of admittance to the State of the Union. However, they may be displayed in alphabetical order.” This does not help your situation completely, but gives us some insight. I would still stick with the flag order to be US, Canada and then Salish-Kootenai Nation for now since the ceremony will be held in the US (first flag) and the attending nations are then in alphabetical order. I think that’s the best way to handle it.
Here is a page I found with a great listing of tribal colors and a book on all of the flags plus their histories.

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