Some Cherokee Indian tribal symbols include the numbers four and seven, circles, the owl, the cougar, and trees such as the holly, spruce, laurel and cedar. The cedar tree is particularly sacred to the Cherokee, and its wood was once used to carry the dead.
The numbers four and seven represent important roles in Cherokee ceremonies and myths. The number four represents the four cardinal directions, but also the familiar forces of the world. Seven also represents the directions, plus three more. The three additional are the Upper World, Lower World and the Middle where everyone lives and remains. Seven also stands for the seven Cherokee clans and symbolizes the utmost in sacredness.
The owl and cougar were believed to be the only beings to achieve this level of sacredness, so they were considered important symbols to the Cherokee. Old myths say that these two animals were the only two who stayed awake throughout the seven nights of creation while all others fell asleep. The Cherokee also derive symbolism from the animals' behavior. The owl is said to walk upright like an old man with eyes on its face like a human.
The cedar, pine, spruce, holly and laurel were considered the only plants to stay awake during the seven nights, and they keep their leaves throughout the year.