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The 38 Alabama Indian Tribes
The Different Tribes of Alabama
In the last quarter of the 18th century, Cherokee Indians made Alabama their homeland. There where many different tribes that resided in Alabama territory & will be mentioned below, however, I am a descendent of the Cherokee from Alabama & I also have Creek from Tennessee or Kentucky tribe. The Native Americans had a huge impact on the shaping of what is now known as Alabama.
Alabama- Al'a'bam'a, It is pronounced "al-uh-BAM-uh" It gets its name from the tribe that occupied the area. This tribe was the original residents of Alabama. Today, most Alabamas live in Texas & share the reservation with the "Coushattas" also in Oklahoma sharing the reservations with the "Creeks" & others had joined the "Seminoles".
The Cherokees settled in the Northeast Counties of Alabama such as; Cherokee, Colbert, Dekalb, Etowah (My hometown county), Jackson, Madison, & Marshall counties.
During the American Revolution time the Cherokees helped the United States & where strong allies during the Creek War of 1813 to 1814. These Creeks where also known as the "Red Sticks". At the time, U.S. General Andrew Jackson could not have succeeded without the help of the Cherokee Nation. However, due to the greed & wanting of more land by the white man, Andrew Jackson would help create the Indian Removal Act of 1830. A great way of showing thanks!
Some of the wars that took place in Alabama; Creek War of 1813, Battles of Tallushatchee, Battle of Talledega, Hillabee Masacre, Battle of Horseshoe Bend, & of course the Trail of Tears.
The Alabama Tribes;
- Alabama- The Native word is "Albina" which means to camp....This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean Tribe which was the Southern Division.
- Abihika- A branch of the Muskgoee & Creek Confederacy
- Atasi- A sub-tribe of the Muskgoee.
- Apalachee- This is one of the older lower creek tribes of Alabama. A few later joined the Creeks to he move to Oklahoma.
- Apalachicola- The early tribe lived on the Chattahoochee River & then moved to the other side to Georgia.
- Cherokee- Occupied towns such as Turkeytown which runs by the Coosa River in my hometown to towns such as Muscle Shoals, Wills Creek in Willstown, & Tuscumbia & where just about wiped out & removed by 1835.
- Chatot- A tribe near Mobile.
- Choctaw- A tribe that shortly occupied the Tombigbee area for hunting grounds.
- Chickasaw- A tribe that covered the Nortwest part of Alabama.
- Creek Confederacy- This tribe was built around the Muskogee which where dominant at the time. They also occupied the Coosa River in my hometown at one time.
- Fus-hatchee- Another branch of the Muskogee tribe.
- Eufaula- Also, a subtribe of the Muskogee.
- Hitchiti- A Muskhogean tribe which branched into Georgia.
- Hilibi- Another subtribe of the Muskogee.
- Kan-hatki, Kealedji, Kolomi, Koasati, Muskogee, Okchai, Pakana, Wakokai, Wiwohka, where all subtribes oo branched from the Muskogee tribe which was apparently the most dominant tribe of Alabama. The Tukabahchee tribe was one of the four heads of the Muskogee's.
- Mobile- This was a subtribe of the Choctaw &/or Chickasaw.
- Muklasa- Also, a branch of the Choctaw. The word means "friends"
- Napochi- The nearest connection found was to the Choctaw. They stayed around the Black Warrior River.
- Natchez- This tribe stayed near the Coosa River as well & later joined the Creeks to Oklahoma.
- Okmulgee- This was a branch of the Creek tribe.
- Osochi- It is believed their language was Muskogee but little is known about the meaning of Osochi. The closest relation seems to be with the Chiaha.
- Pawotki- This tribe came from Florida & later joined the Creek Confederacy.
- Pilthlako- Also, a branch of the Creeks.
- Sawokli- This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean tribe.
- Shawnee- They occupied the Tallapoosa & Sylacauga areas.
- Taensa- This group came from Louisiana & settled in Mobile.
- Tohome- This was a division of the Muskogean tribe.
- Tuskegee- Also, a branch of the Muskogeans.
- Yuchi- This was an older tribe from around the Muscle Shoals area & it is suggested they probably moved toward the East Tennessee area.
- Yamasee- This tribe was in the Mobile Bay area & later moved to West Florida area with the Seminoles.
Well, this pretty much wraps up the many different tribes of Native Americans that occupied the Alabama territory. As you can see, Alabama was definitely Indian land. I live in a rural area known as Ballplay, which is where the Cherokee tribe played a form of basesball. This is what, named this area. They gathered around for this sporting event.
You still can find many Native American artifacts around & along the Coosa Riverbanks & other various places in Gadsden,Alabama.
The presence of the Cherokee is still very much a legacy to the Alabama culture!
Once a year, there is a "Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride" that starts in Chattanooga, Tennessee & ends in Waterloo, Alabama.
Also, once a year there is a "Cherokee River Homecoming Festival" held in Moulton,Alabama.
There is 4 Cherokee state recognized groups known as the,
- Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama
- United Cherokee Ani-Yun -Wiya Nation
- Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama (Which I belong to currently)
- Cher-O-Creek Intratribal Indians, Inc.
These are all recognized by the "The Alabama Indian Affairs Commission" but only 3 tribes are recognized by the Federal Government which are the "Cherokee Nation", "United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians", & "Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation".
Cherokee Prayer Blessing:
May the warm winds of heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your mocassins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the rainbow
always touch your shoulder.
Native American Saying:
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."
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