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Native American Tribes of Tennessee

Welcome to our Tennessee 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 Tennessee tribe, or scroll below the map for Tennessee Indian activities including a wordsearch, fact sheets, and words from the Native American languages of Tennessee. Feel free to print any of these materials out for classroom use!

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American Indians in Tennessee

Did you know the word "Tennessee" comes from a Cherokee Indian name? It comes from Tanasi, which was the name of a major Cherokee town in southeastern Tennessee. The Cherokee Indians were not the only native people of this region, however.

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

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*The Cherokee Indians
*The Chickasaw Indians
*The Creek Indians
*The Koasati Indians
*The Quapaw tribe
*The Shawnee Indians
*The Yuchi tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Tennessee today.

Most Native Americans were forced to leave Tennessee during the Indian Removals of the 1800's. These tribes are not extinct, but except for the descendants of Tennessee Indians who escaped from Removal, they do not live in Tennessee 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.

Unrecognized Indian tribes, bands, and communities remaining in Tennessee today include:

*Chikamaka Cherokees:
PO Box 998
Tracy City, TN 37387

*Etowah Cherokee Nation:
PO Box 5454
Cleveland, TN 37320

Teaching and learning activities about Tennessee Native Americans:

Feel free to print these out to use at school!

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

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

*Tennessee's Indian Peoples: History of the Cherokees and other Tennessee Indians.
*Tennessee Indians: Introducing Tennessee's Native American history and culture to kids.
*Tribes That Slumber: Indians of the Tennessee Region: Interesting ethnography of the Native American tribes of Tennessee.
*Encyclopedia of Tennessee Indians: Thorough reference book about the Native American tribes of Tennessee.

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

*Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs: Organization representing the interests of Tennessee's Native American community.
*Native Nashville: News, historical and genealogicl information, and links related to Tennessee Indian tribes.

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

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