The Cherokee seven clans each had their own symbol that represented the strengths and special rights allowed to members of that tribe.
The Wild Potato clan members were considered the gatherers of food and often were referred to as keepers of the land.
The Long Hair clan members were the peacekeepers and it was from this tribe that Peace Chiefs were chosen; the term Long Hair in Cherokee can also be translated as stranger and this clan was often the clan into which adopted orphans of other tribes were placed.
The Wolf clan was perhaps the largest clan in the Cherokee. Known for their tendency to act as a protector, members of the Wolf clan were chosen to be the War Chief and act in cooperation with the Peace Chief.
The Deer clan was known for their speed and agility and clan-members were hunters of deer and other game animals; they also served as village runners, delivering messages from village to village.
The Bird clan members were also messengers and they were the only Cherokee people that were allowed to hunt Eagles and Owls for their feathers or wings.
The Blue clan was known for the members ability with herbs and medicinal plants and was regarded as a clan of healers.
The Paint clan was a clan of medicine-people; its members were responsible for painting the skin with medicine colors during different stages of life and also preparing special paints for ceremonial use.
Even today there are many Cherokee symbols in particular are the many symbols which make up the Cherokee Nation flag. The Cherokee Flag contains the Cherokee Seal in the middle along with seven stars in the outer field and one black star. Interpretation of the design of the Cherokee Nation seal is found in Cherokee culture and history.
The seven-pointed star in the center of the seal represents the seven Cherokee clans (Bird, Wild Potato, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Blue and Wolf).
The wreath of leaves and acorns surrounding the star represents the sacred fire of the Cherokee, maintained for hundreds of years by spiritual leaders.
Surrounding these elements are the words, "Seal of the Cherokee Nation, followed by "Tsa la gi hi A ye li which in the native tongue, means Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee syllabary, invented by Sequoyah is used. The date September 6, 1839, represents the signing of the first Cherokee Constitution after removal to Indian Territory.
The seven stars in the outer field also represent the seven clans, and the one additional star, which is black, represents those who died as a result of the Trail of Tears.