The Seven Clans of the Cherokee

From ancient times the number seven was sacred to the Cherokee People. Consequently, as nomadic tribes wandering the North Ameriacan continent began to settle down and take on distinctive characteristics of place, name, language and customs. It was only natural and logical that the basic arrangment of Cherokee social, religious and political life would develope into a structure of seven clans.

The Seven Cherokee Clans:

BLUE (A NI SA HO NIJ)

The people of the blue clan made a medicine from a bluish colored plant to keep the children well. Sometimes known as the Panther, or Wild Cat Clan.

LONG HAIR ( A NI GI LO HI )

Also known as The Twister, Hair Hanging Down or Wind Clan. They wore their hair in elaborate hairdos, walked in a proud and vain manner twisting their shoulders. The Peace Chief was usually from this clan.

BIRD (A NI TSI S KWA)

They were the keepers of the birds, skilled in using blowguns and snares for bird hunting. Perhaps they were messangers, as many of the birds were in the legends.

PAINT (A NI WO DI)

They made red paint and were the sorcerers and medicine men.

DEER (A NI KA WI)

They were the keepers of the deer and were known as fast runners and deer hunters.

WILD POTATO (A NI GA TO GE WI)

They gathered the wild potato in swamps along streams for food. They were also known as the Bear, Racoon, or Blind Savannah Clan.

WOLF ( ANI WA YAH)

This was the largest and most prominent clan providing most of the tribe’s war chiefs. They were the keepers of the wolf and the only clan who could kill a wolf.

You might notice the word ANI at the beginning of each clan name, and it meansClan. 🙂 IE: ANI = CLAN and WA YAH = WOLF