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.

18 thoughts on “Tennessee Indian Tribes”

  1. I found in the Tennessee Archives where there was a small tribe of Sioux in upper East Tennessee It has been several years but wonder if anyone else has gathered same sata

  2. I’m trying to find out about my grandfather he was. Indain he died in 1963 and lived in collinwood Tenn also is buried by a cheek thier I was told he was Apache indain but I need to know more about all of it anyone know about the cheek Waters in collinwood Tenn Durning 1963

  3. I’m looking for information about the Maclin family ( Are from my mother’s side) and Matthews (Are from my dad’s side of the family). I was told by my Dear grandmother that her great-great Grandmother was the bloodline of Cherokee Indians. And that I have a bloodline from both sides of my family. We are from Mason, Covington, Somerville, and Stanton Tennessee Area. How can I go about finding out more about my Indian Ancestry? Please contact me by using my email address. I am seeking this information to pass it on to my six children. My e-mail address is martha_j_taylor32@yahoo.com I am looking forward to this journey. In my email address, it is a letter j, not the letter i.

    1. My name is ShulandA Lambert n my grandma is Louise Katie Lambert Maclin n my Auntea is roses adams my great Auntea n I am from Stanton Tennessee n u may call me at 678-764-6278 n we are related

  4. I live in Tipton county (west tn) and have recently discovered an arrow-shaped “trail-marker tree” on our property pointing northeast. I assume it’s Chickasaw. Makes you wonder what kind of history is in your own backyard

  5. Looking for and Relations to Pool (Poole). And Smithson possible being Indian.
    Thank You
    Tonie Laws

    Tdlaws@hotmail. Com

    1. Im looking for info ..I was told by my mother that her great great Granddad was full blooded cherokee indian are family comes from …Chattanoga Tennessee ..we are from california how can i go about finding out more about her parents are my grand parents she was raised by her mother sister and she is no longer alive today but my mother is ..If i can get her parents name were do i go from there are could i use her mother sistee name .Please contact view e mail i am desperately seeking this info. And also my family comes fron detroit michigan if any one else is reading this my mother name is MARY louise brown ..Thank you

  6. I am looking for mygreat great grandmother, She was a medicine woman within her tribe.
    I am not sure of her name spelling though.
    Jimmy (?) Last name of either Davidson or Deason.
    Any help of pinpointing the area or tribe she was associated with would be greatly appreciated.

  7. I live in perry county Tennessee near the river and I find and have many artifacts with the name on them but the only ones I can make out is j.t. ar. Sam. All the others are in Indian language. I would be happy to meet there family members as im learning the way they lived on now my property. They were so intelligent.

  8. I would like to find my Native American decent for the estate of my brother. Mothers name Yates, Fathers name Usery.

  9. I would like to know more information about my grandfather John Jackson and my grandmother Rosie may verble before she married my grandfather. I wished I could find some kind of heritage on my grandparents.

  10. Cindy Rogers Palomo

    I am trying to find my great-grandmother. Jenny Anasora? She also went by Jennie Ruth Anderson. She moved to Texas and married
    my great-grandfather, John Perry Rogers in 1898. Ancestry shows her date of birth Sep. 1876.

  11. Billie Jane Ruetz

    Please advise: What is the best method to research the probability of my fathers family being of
    American Native decent. ? Henson is the last name. THANK YOU.

    1. Joyce McClendon, I’m from Memphis Tn. And trying to find my grandmother, great grandma and gggrandma. Last Name’s : Eddie Brown gdad,from desoto, ms. Effie Newsome milen. Papa joe Milen, his mother Mariah clayton or Mariah. MARTHA Bradley. Robert McClendon, Sean McClendon. Mamie Delancey. From mississippi, Tenn.ga.va.ok.albam.arkan. Race: cherokee, Choctaw, chicksaw, Shawnee. I can’t find most of there name on the dawned rolls.i was told they put them as white and some black .some are mulatto. McClendon. Contact malikahmccray2020@gmail.com

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