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The 38 Alabama Indian Tribes

Cherokee Indian


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,

  1. Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama
  2. United Cherokee Ani-Yun -Wiya Nation
  3. Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama (Which I belong to currently)
  4. 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:

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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."

Thanks for visiting tis hub!

Michael Gladden


Kimberly on September 30, 2019:

I am Cherokee on Moms Side from Sumiton. AL .. last name Reed. What tribe might I belong to and also - What tribe mostly occupied the Bessemer / Hueytown Area of Jefferson County, Al

john abbott on August 23, 2017:

Michael, I'm coming up to Etowah co tomorrow to try to find a place to look for arrowheads and pottery. Do you know any places that are good to look ?

Lynda Blankenship Barrett on July 07, 2016:

Thank you for this information! My father was born and raised in Alabama as was several generations before him. My grandparents denied having any Cherokee in them but my dad and aunt Millie and I thought different. After researching it I found out that we descended from Nancy Ward and Tame Doe. There was also John Buck Blankenship who married a Cherokee woman and he himself was half Cherokee. My grandmother was born and raised near the Coosa River. My granddad Blankenship was born and raised near there too. I always wanted to belong to a tribe but never knew if I could.

deborah meek on June 01, 2016:

Hi Michael, I was raised as an Echota Cherokee as was my father, grandmother, great grandmother and on back...we are from No. Ala. C0lbert, Lauderdale , Limestone counties.. I'm soon to start trying to research all of this any suggestions??? AND can you tell me why Echota Cherokee is not a recognized tribe?? I never questioned my roots before but now it seems to come up as not-authentic all the time.. I have been on the tribe's books in Vinemont,Ala for many years thank you SO MUCH.. debsu on June 24, 2015:

That is awesome! I will look up name to see if any records show up. Thanks! Wind Traveler

Rebecca a. sowell on June 23, 2015:

hi, I'm trying to find my grandmothers tribe she was adopted out of her tribe was she was very young , she was full blooded Choctaw, it was around late 1800's to the early 1900's she was adopted and her name became liedie treadeway

lost cherokee on April 22, 2015:

i am cherokee, but i have yet found, the imformation, i need to prove it a cousin had a real old picture of our great, great great grandmother in her native american. dress. but he lost it never had a copy made.our great great great grandfarther name was peter watchman kimbrell. if anyone can tell me what watchman, had to do with his clan or native american heritage please let me know, also our family cemetary is on historic record located in j,ville... alabama. he was born 1800..if you can help please do i need to find my tribe- my clan.... thank-you

boderah on February 27, 2015:

i enjoyed your post. you said you were part creek as well; where from? i am also of creek heritage.

flowers on September 15, 2014:

Hi. I am from lower Alabama, dale county area. I have pictures of my grandfather grand mother who was a full blood native. I just dont know what tribe she was from. If its any importance she married a black man who was a flowers.

deborah epperson on July 08, 2014:

my grandmother 5 gen back was millie thompson she was full cherokee her mother was martha thompson. How do I obtain a blood test to determine what percent Cherokee blood I have? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

rachel stargell on March 03, 2014:

Yes I found out that I have a grandfather who was chief of the wolf clan in the 1800,s and I was wonderin what I do are all I also have family that is on the dawes roll n I have 3.15 percent cherrokee indain. But my skin I whiter than it should be so but that is what my blood test came out to be any advice on what to do

sdtowe on October 24, 2013:

Can you recommend a place to start on tracing lineage from Cherokee lines? My great-grandmother was Cherokee and died prematurely in a wagon accident. There were very few pictures of her and those were lost due to vandalism. I'd love to be able to get more information on her family and possibly find some relatives I don't know about. I just have no idea where to start.

Barbara Ivy on July 20, 2013:

Great site

I am a decendent of : Proctors,Davis,

From Maynard's cove,Alabama

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on May 20, 2013:

Thank you so much, Michael. I especially appreciate the Cherokee prayer and the native blessing!

davin336 on January 28, 2013:

Michael, thanks so much for the great info. I'm sure it took quite some time to research all of this and it is greatly appreciated. I am a born and raised Gadsden boy and currently live in Duck Springs on a coupla hundred acre farm that has been in my family since mid to late 1800s. Since my grandfather(an avid artifacts collector) passed last year, I have developed an even greater than normal desire to spend more time hunting and collecting artifacts. I was curious as to whether or not you thought I would be wasting my time doing so on my land? I know you can't guarantee anything but you seem to be quite educated on the matter and your opinion would be greatly appreciated. I know you're a busy guy but if you'd like to discuss it any further please lmk. I can't tell you how grateful I'd be.

Shelia Bussey on January 11, 2013:

Michael,I too live in Ballplay,I have found several arrowheads...that's a great feeling to me.What tribe occupied this area? My daughters great-great grandfather was a Birdsong from this area,we have found his resting place in the old cemetary on Gnattville rd.

emerson on November 26, 2012:

i`ve traced my great-grandmother back to alabama, she was cherokee and other ways to get more info..Hellen Basket

brenda culver dorsey on August 09, 2012:

I am told that my greatgrandmother was indian and an indianprincess

Her name is Mary Jane Meek (s). Her father was Hosca Meek(s). Mary Jane was married to my great grandfather, Joseph Culver. She had a son (my grandfather) George Culver (my father's dad). How can I get information on her.

Kelly on June 19, 2012:

Thank you, it was informative . I remember being really small and a commercial would come on of the most beautiful older Mative ma, and he would have one tear slide down his face at the pollution of America. It was an ad against littering. I would just sob , and sob. Reading this article touched me as a grown woman. Still a few tears, for some reason .

Blessings all

Cora bell ducket on May 29, 2012:

Trying yo find my Grandmothers tribe...Cora Bell Ducket, born 1884 or 1885..she married James Franklin Alexander..borne 01-27-1875..She was full blooded Cherokee..please contact me at if you have any information...Greatfully.Carolyn Decker

freddy on May 21, 2012:

perfect for my project

Mikeshane on May 16, 2012:

Most likely from the Cherokee tribe.

robert on May 15, 2012:

i found an arrowhead in my front yard i live in robuck in jefferson county al can anyone tyell me what tribe it my have come from??

Veronica on May 02, 2012:

This is really cool to see,I just did my ancestry and found out that my grandmother was full blooded Indian and we have traced her back to the Alabama Cherokee. Do you have any idea how I can confirm this?

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg on April 16, 2012:


Joyce Rambert QAKA Joyce Ann Ashford on March 11, 2012:

My children are about the 7th generation of my family to live here. We are called African-Americans, but my family photos show clear Native-American features. One of my relatives was Susie (Johnson) Harris whose parents were Tatum Johnson and Kizzie Johnson. I was told that "Mama Susie" came from a Native American settlement near Moulton, and that some of her relatives helped founded the city of Tuscumbia. If we are not members of a tribe, our ancestors having remained here and mixed with the Caucasians and the Africans, how can I authenticate my Native-America heritage other than through photos? My Moores, Stovalls, and Johnson ancestors were said to be part Native-American, and their photos show them to be Native-American. If I go to the Moulton archives, will there be information specifically on the Native-Americans from that region?

Anthony Harper on January 08, 2012:

Im trying to find information on my great grandfather, im told that he may be of the Cherokee tribe. I would be most greatful for any help on how to go about it. My email is

Sandra M Urquhart from Fort Lauderdale on January 08, 2011:

This is cool Michael. You've really dug up some info here. You might like this article too: I went at it from a different perspective, but you might find it interesting. Peace & blessings.

jeff on November 10, 2010:

The Cherokee fought against the states in the revolutionary war and later fought with the U.S. against there enemies the Creek.

Dana Rock from Pacific Northwest on October 03, 2010:

Stellar job!

DONNIE C. BARBER on July 10, 2010:


Edward Happer MSc on May 02, 2010:

very interesting and informative thanks for sharing

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on April 22, 2010:

Thanks for sharing part of your history....I am familiar with Roanoke & I know a lot of people down here have some Cherokee Blood....Wish you luck tracing your roots....Thanks for visiting....

Right Black from Huntington Beach, California on April 22, 2010:

Michael Shane, my grandmother was a Cherokee Indian from Alabama. She lived in Roanoke. My brother lives there to this day. I've had very little luck tracing anything further back than her on that side of the family but I enjoyed this hub. Thanks

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on April 22, 2010:

Thanks mquee.....I can't wait to read it..

mquee from Columbia, SC on April 21, 2010:

Very good stuff Michael, I am very interested in Native American history and plan to do a hub on an individual or tribe in the near future. Thanks.

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on March 22, 2010:

Thanks Quicksand! These where the 1st indians to encounter Europeans. Check out tis link & you will discover a lot!

Hope this helps!

Thanks for stopping by...

quicksand on March 22, 2010:

I was looking for information on Red Indian tribes, and I found this interesting. Thanks :)

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on March 22, 2010:

Thanks I am proud of my Cherokee & Creek heritage....Glad you enjoyed it...

Cathi Sutton on March 21, 2010:

Good Hub! I enjoyed reading it!

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on March 19, 2010:

Definitely, you bet Winsome! Guess what? I am full of culture. I have irish, English, German, Dutch, Polish, Cherokee, & Creek heritage. I'm not sure that is so good! LOL! However, I have noticed specific things about myself from these different genes, some would say that is crazy & maybe it is but when I hear an Indian drum beat I began to stir & weep inside my soul, or when I hear bagpipes, I get a rumble in my spirit...You get the point! Appreciate your comments & look forward to reading your hubs too!

Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on March 19, 2010:

Very intriguing Michael. My grandmother was half Creek (possibly Cherokee) from Alabama. Her maiden name was Gillie (or Gilly)and Harris on her mother's side. I would love to find her roots. Thanks for the Cherokee prayer, it is strangely reminiscent of Irish blessings and the poetry I write. Since I have both Irish and American Indian blood, I wonder if those kinds of expression can be inherited. =:)

Michael Shane (author) from Gadsden, Alabama on March 10, 2010:

Thank you dreagon5! a lot of research too!

dreagon5 on March 10, 2010:

Well put info! :)

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