An unstrung bow, encompassing three arrows and a smoking pipe-hatchet, symbolizes history and tradition of the Choctaw Indians. Peaceable by nature, the Choctaws smoked their pipe-hatchets as they sat in deliberation around council files. The three arrows symbolize the three great Choctaw Chiefs – Apukshunnubbee, Pushmataha, and Mosholatubbee – who signed the treaty of Doaks Stand, by which the United States assigned the tribe a vast domain west (all of Southern Oklahoma) for a part of the Choctaw land in Mississippi. Ten years later, when the Choctaws gave up all the rest of their home country in Mississippi and moved west, they dived the new land into three districts, and each district was named for one of these great chiefs. Though peace-loving, the Choctaws speedily would string their bows and staunchly set forth to defend themselves if they were provoked. Pushmataha embodied the nature of the tribe. He was the tribal hero and statesman who, when challenged, became the tribal leader in war. Provisions were made for this seal at the noted Choctaw convention in Doaksville in 1860.
References: Muriel H. Wright, “The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation, “The Chronicle of Higher Education 33 (Winter 1955-56).