Byline: Morgan Taylor/ Multimedia Producer
Shayln Proctor/ Reporter
PAWHUSKA, Oklahoma – Starla Plum (Mvskoke) made her horseback debut after a 28-year hiatus, carrying the Muscogee (Creek) Nation flag during Night of the Native American at the 77th International Cavalcade Rodeo on July 15-23.
The evening is dedicated to giving tribal nations a chance to represent themselves at the annual rodeo.
In the past, Plum noticed dignitaries from multiple tribes, ceremonial performers, and even recalls Miss Muscogee Nation appearing for the special ceremony.
“But I had never seen our flag represented,” Plum said.
As she sat and anticipated the upcoming celebration, Plum remembered the years where she looked for the Muscogee Flag and it wasn’t there.
Plum made a phone call to MCN Principal Chief David Hill, expressing her concern of the lack of representation in the past at the event.
According to Plum, that’s when Hill told her to come grab a flag from him personally, and represent the tribe at the Native Night.
Although Plum saw several tribal leaders, dignitaries, traditional dance performers, and some other speeches and prayers that were given in different languages; she claims to have been the only tribal flag in the grand entry.
“I didn’t see any other tribal flag represented that night.” Plum said.
It wasn’t Plum’s first time to carry a flag on horseback, however, she had taken her last ride at the age 17.
Over the years, Plum dealt with health issues. A couple years ago she had a gastric bypass surgery.
Plum’s family encouraged her during recovery, and incentivized the idea of being able to ride horses again after 28 years.
“I have lost over 200 pounds in the last two years,” Plum said.
The Bristow Community Chairwoman chased her goals of being able to ride again and even got to share this moment with other community members who joined Plum in representing the Nation.
“We had some community involvement too,” Plum said. “It was a good sense of pride to be able to carry our flag.”
Plum hopes to continue carrying the Muscogee Flag in future rodeo entries as well as continue to strengthen her horseback riding skills.