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Native American Tribes of Kentucky

Welcome to our Kentucky State Facts section, part of an educational project designed to provide information about indigenous people in different U.S. states. Follow the links to the right of our tribal map for more information about the language, culture and history of each Kentucky tribe, or scroll below the map for Kentucky Indian activities including a wordsearch, fact sheets, and words from the Native American languages of Kentucky. Feel free to print any of these materials out for classroom use!

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American Indians in Kentucky

Did you know the name "Kentucky" comes from a Iroquoian Indian word? It comes from Kentake, which means "meadow land." The Iroquois were not the original native people of this region, however.

The original inhabitants of the area that is now Kentucky included:

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*The Cherokee tribe
*The Chickasaw tribe
*The Shawnee tribe
*The Yuchi tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Kentucky today.

Most Native Americans were forced to leave Kentucky during the Indian Removals of the 1800's. These tribes are not extinct, but except for the descendants of Kentucky Indians who escaped from Removal, they do not live in Kentucky anymore. They were moved to Indian reservations in Oklahoma instead. If you click on the link for each tribe above, you can find more information about them.

Other Indian tribes, bands and communities remaining in Kentucky today include:

*Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky:
7919 Pleasant Hill Road
Henderson, KY 42420

Teaching and learning activities about Kentucky Native Americans:

Feel free to print these out to use at school!

*Kentucky Tribes Word Search: Printable puzzle hiding the names of Kentucky's Indian tribes.
*Kentucky Language Greetings: Learn to say "hello" in several Native Kentucky languages.
*Kentucky Native Animals: Learn the Native American names of Kentucky animals.
*How To Write Your Name In Cherokee: Directions for using the Cherokee writing system to spell English names.
*Kentucky Indian Facts for Kids: Answers to frequently asked questions about the tribes of Kentucky.
    We currently have pages for the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Yuchi, and Shawnee tribes.

Recommended books about Kentucky Native Americans
(Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links)

*Kentucky Indians: Introducing Kentucky's Native American history and culture to kids.
*Encyclopedia of Kentucky Indians: Thorough reference book about the Native American tribes of Kentucky.
*Kentucky Archaeology: Book about the ancient Native American history of Kentucky.
*Rock Art of Kentucky: Book about Kentucky Indian petroglyphs and prehistoric rock carvings.
*The Shawnee: Kentucky Bicentennial: Book exploring the Shawnee Indian presence in Kentucky.
*Indian Artifacts of the Midwest: Collection of photographs of paleo-Indian arrowheads and other artifacts.

Other resources about American Indian history, culture and society in Kentucky state:

*Kentucky Native Americans:
    Brief overview of Kentucky Indian history.
*Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission:
    State council dedicated to the culture and needs of Kentucky's Native American population.
*Native Americans in Central Kentucky:
    Information on the Shawnees and other Kentucky Native Americans.

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Back to the index of Native American tribes
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Back to our Native American website for kids

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