The 68th Cherokee National Holiday theme is “We the People of the Cherokee Nation: Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty.”
In this year’s design, the Cherokee Constitution is shown in the background with the first sentence, “We, the people of the Cherokee Nation.”
At top, is the seven stars to represent the seven clans. The one star directly below symbolizes the appointed Cherokee Nation Delegate to Congress, which is a treaty right between the Cherokee Nation and United States Government.
The 38 leaves on the sides represent the federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma with two branches representing the partnership the tribes play with the state of Oklahoma. The middle leaf represents good medicine as the partners negotiate a gaming compact.
The two sides at the medicine represent the Five Tribes. At the center is the Hawk, a symbol of stately leadership like that of our Principal Chief and Deputy Chief in their first-year in office. The Hawk holds in protection the Seal of the Cherokee Nation, and encompassed in the wings is the hard-working tribal government and its employees.
In the tail is 42 feathers, representative of the years the federal Indian Child Welfare Act which protects Native and Cherokee children and keeps them with their tribe, has been upheld.
The three outer rings represent the three branches of Cherokee Nation government, tirelessly working to defend the Cherokee Nation and is sovereign right to self-govern. The scroll at bottom reflects the Cherokee Nation government’s longstanding existence that precedes even that of the U.S. government.