Cherokee Nation - Flags

Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory Research
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Cherokee Flags

The script around the seal is in Cherokee script "Tsa la gi yi A ye hli" meaning "The Cherokee Nation."

This flag shown is the current flag, adopted on October 9, 1978 and first raised on September 30, 1979. On September 9, 1989, a solitary black star was added to the upper fly in memory of the Cherokee who lost their lives during the Trail of Tears march.  The seal is from the Oklahoma band of the Cherokee. The Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina uses a slightly different seal.


In Dr. Whitney Smith's "The Flag Book of the United States" the Cherokee are reported to have a white flag bearing seven red seven pointed stars. This flag was called a "peace flag" it was known to have been used in the ceremonies of the Cherokee to celebrate their national holiday on Sept. 7, 1968.  The red stars stand for victory and success, while the white background represents peace and happiness. The seven points of each star, the seven clans of the Cherokee people.

The stars are arranged in the pattern of the constellation Yonegwa, known to the white man as the Great Bear or Big Dipper.

According to Cherokee history, the peace flag was carried by the Cherokee to the Indian Territory along the Trail of Tears. Before that journey began, the Cherokee War Flag, was buried with a hatchet. The War Flag was red and bore the Big Dipper in white according to tribal sources. This counter changing of red and white for war and peace is a common design element in many eastern tribes.  



The Cherokee Braves Battle Flag was presented to the Cherokees as a confederate battle flag by a representative of the Confederacy, "Albert Pike", at the signing of the treaty that brought the Cherokee into the Confederacy on the Seventh (7th) of October 1861.

The flag at the time was Stars and Bars with eleven (11) white stars in a circle in the blue field, representing the states in the Confederacy. The Cherokee modified the flag to create one for battle of their own. In the field of the white bar they added the words "CHEROKEE BRAVES" and in the center of the circle of white stars in the blue field they placed five (5) red stars, representing the five civilized tribes, all in the confederacy, with the larger red star in the center representing the Cherokees. The Confederate Indian troops, under the command of "General Stan Watie" carried the flag as their banner, also used by the men as their national flag.

The Confederate Cherokee government was set up in the Canadian District, in the southern part of the Cherokee Nation. The dream of having a separate, independent and sovereign Cherokee government was never realized. "General Stan Watie" was the only Cherokee Native American to attain the rank of general in any military and was the last one to surrender at the end of the war. The descendants of the Cherokee Confederacy who know, honor their ancestors by displaying the flag.


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