Kentucky Indian Tribes

Federally Recognized Kentucky Tribes
(Federal List Last Updated 5/16)


State Recognized Kentucky Tribes

Southern Cherokee Nation of Kentucky

Principal Chief: Tim Jordan Vice Chief: Norman Rhoads
Tribal Registrar: Roger Brock
P.O. Box 1750 Henderson, KY 42419
Phone (502) 695-7974

State Recognized by proclamation in 1893 and again by Governor Fletcher on 20 Nov 2006.

Ridgetop Shawnee


Recognized by the State House of the Kentucky General Assembly in 2009 under HJR-15

Non-Recognized Kentucky Tribes 

Kentucky Native American Indian Council (KNAIC) 

Harlan County Native American Site Protection Office

Early Tribes

Cherokee. The Cherokee claimed some land in southeastern Kentucky and traces of culture of the Cherokee type are said to be found in archeological remains along the upper course of the Cumberland, but no permanent Cherokee settlement is known to have existed in historic times within this State.

Chickasaw. The westernmost end of Kentucky was claimed by the Chickasaw, and at a very early period they had a settlement on the lower course of Tennessee River, either in Kentucky or Tennessee.

Mosopelea. This tribe may have lived within the boundaries of Kentucky for a brief time, perhaps at the mouth of the Cumberland River, when they were on their way from Ohio to the lower Mississippi.

Shawnee. The Shawnee had more to do with Kentucky in early times than any other tribe, but maintained few villages in the State for a long period. Their more permanent settlements were farther south near Asheville, North Carolina.

At one Shawnee town, located for a short time near Lexington, Kentucky, the noted Shawnee chief, Blackhoof, was born.

The tribe crossed and recrossed the State several times in its history and used it still more frequently as a hunting ground.

Yuchi. According to some early maps, the Yuchi had a town in this State on a river which appears to be identical with Green River.

Sources of records on US Indian tribes