Tennessee Indian Tribes

The following tribes at one time are recorded in history as having resided within the present state of Tennessee. If the tribe name is in bold, then Tennessee is the primary location known for this tribe, otherwise we provide the tribes specifics as it pertains to Tennessee and provide a link to the main tribal page if available.

  • Catawba Indians
    For a brief period in their later history the Catawba lived among the Cherokee and they may have occupied lands in Tennessee at that time. There are indications that they may have been in eastern Tennessee at a more remote epoch.
  • Cherokee Indians
  • Chiaha Indians
    A part of this tribe was encountered by De Soto in 1540, in the territory now forming this State, probably, as shown by Mr. J. Y. Brame, on what is now Burns Island. They are also mentioned in connection with the explorations of Juan Pardo in 1567.
  • Chickasaw Indians
    In historic times the Chickasaw claimed the greater part of western Tennessee, and twice drove Shawnee Indians from the Cumberland Valley, the first time with the assistance of the Cherokee, according to the claim of the latter. At an early date they had a settlement on the lower Tennessee River but it is doubtful whether this was in Tennessee or Kentucky.
  • Kaskinampo Indians
  • Mosopelia Indians
    This tribe probably established themselves on Cumberland River and at one or two points on the Tennessee shore of the Mississippi on their way from Ohio to Mississippi.
  • Muskogee Indians
    Although we do not have records of any settlement in Tennessee by the true Muskogee, it is probable that some of them occupied part of its territory in prehistoric times, and at a later date their war parties constantly visited it.
  • Natchez Indians
    After being driven from Mississippi and Louisiana, one band of Natchez lived among the Cherokee.
  • Ofo, see Mosopelea Indians.
  • Shawnee Indians
  • Tali Indians
    A tribe met by De Soto near the great bend of the Tennessee and found in the same region by the earliest English and French explorers, living in what is now northern Alabama and perhaps also in Tennessee. It is probable that they were a part of the Creek.
  • Tuskegee Indians
    One band of Tuskegee formed a settlement or settlements in the Cherokee Nation. (See also Cherokee)
  • Yuchi Indians
    The greater part of the Yuchi probably lived at one period in and near the mountains of eastern Tennessee though one band of them was on the Tennessee River just above Muscle Shoals and there is evidence for an early occupation of the Hiwassee Valley. Some remained with the Cherokee until a very late date.

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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