The official flag of the Cherokee Nation was raised for the first time during ceremonies Sunday, September 30, 1979. Stanley John, a full-blood Navajo, who lives in Tahlequah, designed it. John submitted 18 different designs to the tribal council. Only one made use of the Cherokee seal. The tribal council approved it. The seal is surrounded by seven stars, each with a point in line with the seven points of the center star. The seven stars and the seven points of each star symbolize the seven clans of the Cherokees. The seal and the stars are set in a field of orange, bordered by a black and green rope along the outer edge.
On September 9, 1989, the tribal council approved a resolution that standardized the size, 3' x 5,' and design. To memorialize the Cherokees, who died on the Trail of Tears, the council also approved the addition of a seven-pointed black star.