NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES of Alabama
This map, from Robbie Ethridge’s From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715, is shocking to the eye. Few (U.S.) Americans have seen historical maps in which indigenous and colonial settlements are treated equally. (The three European towns are highlighted with red (English) and yellow (Spanish) rectangles, which I have added.) Few of us realize the vastness of the inhabited landscape of North America prior to its colonization by Europeans. History is written, and geography is mapped backward from the present to tell the story of inevitable colonial and post-Independence expansion of the United States. Without this perspective, it can seem as if history began with the arrival of European colonists, sidelining stories that predate their settlement, up to and including the vast trade in enslaved native peoples that flourished from 1685 to 1715.
Credit: Carwil without Borders
Native American History in Alabama
When Andrew Jackson became president of the United States in 1829, his government took a hard line. Jackson abandoned the policy of his predecessors of treating different Indian groups as separate nations. Instead, he aggressively pursued plans against all Indian tribes which claimed constitutional sovereignty and independence from state laws, and which were based east of the Mississippi River. They were to be removed to reservations in Indian Territory west of the Mississippi (now Oklahoma), where their laws could be sovereign without any state interference.
At Jackson’s request, the United States Congress opened a debate on an Indian Removal Bill. After fierce disagreements the Senate passed the measure 28–19, the House 102–97. Jackson signed the legislation into law May 30, 1830.
Five Civilized Tribes
In 1830, the majority of the “Five Civilized Tribes” were:
1 Chickasaw Tribe
The Chickasaw had a few settlements in northwestern Alabama, part of which State was within their hunting territories. At one time they also had a town called Ooe-asa (Wǐ-aca) among the Upper Creeks.
2 Choctaw Tribe
This tribe hunted over and occupied, at least temporarily, parts of southwestern Alabama beyond the Tombigbee.
3 Creek Tribe (Muscogee)
When Alabama was first established as part of the Mississippi Territory in the early nineteenth century, the vast majority of the land belonged to the Creek Indian Confederacy, and most of the Native American towns in Alabama were inhabited by the Creeks. The Creek Nation was divided among the group known as the Upper Creeks, who occupied territory along the Coosa, Alabama, and Tallapoosa rivers in central Alabama, and the Lower Creeks, who occupied the areas along the lower Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, and Flint rivers in southwestern Georgia.
Alphabetical List of Native American Tribes in Alabama
A branch of the Muskgoee & Creek Confederacy. The members of the Abihka were Upper Creek Indians. Their main place of residence was along the banks of the Coosa and Alabama rivers, in what is now Talladega County, Alabama.
This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean Tribe which was the Southern Division. The Native word is “Albina” which means to camp.
The Alabama or Alibamu (Alabama: Albaamaha) are a Southeastern culture people of Native Americans, originally from Alabama. They were members of the Muscogee Creek Confederacy, a loose trade and military organization of autonomous towns; their home lands were on the upper Alabama River.
The Alabama and closely allied Coushatta people migrated from Alabama and Mississippi to the area of Texas in the late 18th century and early 19th century, under pressure from European-American settlers to the east. They essentially merged and shared reservation land. Although the tribe was terminated in the 1950s, it achieved federal recognition in 1987 as the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. 1
- Wikipedia contributors, “Alabama people,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alabama_people&oldid=840285082 (accessed June 11, 2018).
A part of this tribe lived for a time among the Lower Creeks and perhaps in this State. Another section settled near Mobile and remained there until West Florida was ceded to Great Britain when they crossed the Mississippi.
Very early this tribe lived on the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers, partly in Alabama. Sometime after 1715 they settled in Russell County, on the Chattahoochee River where they occupied at least two different sites before removing with the rest of the Creeks to the other side of the Mississippi.
A sub-tribe of the Muskgoee.. At least three successive places were occupied by the Atasi on Tallapoosa River. The first was some miles above the sharp bend in the river at Tukabahchee, where Bartram found them in 1777-78. 4 The second was five miles below Tukabahchee on the south side of the river, 5 and the third a few miles higher on the north side near the mouth of Calebee Creek. The name appears in the census lists of 1738, 1750, 1760, and 1761. 6 On the last mentioned date James McQueen and T. Ferryman were the officially recognized traders. 7
|4.||↩||Bartram, Travels, p. 448 et seq.|
|5.||↩||Ga. Hist. Soc. Colls., IX, pp. 40, 46. ” On the opposite bank [from Mr. Bailey’s house] formerly stood the old town Ohassee [Ottassee], a beautiful rich level plane surrounded with hills, to the north, it was formerly a canebrake, the river, makes a curve round it to the south, so that a small fence on the hill side across would enclose it.”- p. 40.|
|6, 7.||↩||MSS., Aver Lib.; Miss Prov. Arch., I, p. 95; Ga. Col. Docs., VIII, p. 523.|
The Biloxis are original people of the American southeast, inhabiting the southern parts of Mississippi and Alabama. After a smallpox epidemic killed many of the Biloxi people, the survivors moved west and joined their allies the Tunicas in Louisiana.
See Wikipedia contributors, “Biloxi people,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia and Biloxi Indian Fact Sheet.
Additional References: Frederick Webb Hodge, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, gave a more complete history of the Tunica-Biloxi tribe, with estimations of the population of the tribe at various time periods. Additional details are given in John Swanton’s The Indian Tribes of North America.
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
This tribe settled near Mobile after having been driven from Florida and moved to Louisiana about the same time as the Apalachee.
A tribe or band which French settled south of Ft. St. Louis, Mobile Bay, Alabama, in 1709. Bienville wishing to change his settlement, ” selected a place where the nation of Chatot were residing, and gave them exchange for it a piece of territory fronting on Dog River, 2 leagues farther down”. 1. According to Baudry des Lozieres 2 the Chatot and Tohome tribes were related to the Choctaw and spoke the French and Choctaw languages.
Penicaut,1709, in French, Hist. Coll. LA 1, 103, 1869
Baudry des Lozieres, Voy., 1794
All were living east of the Mississippi as they had for thousands of years. In the latter part of the eighteenth century some Cherokee worked their way down the Tennessee River as far as Muscle Shoals, constituting the Chickamauga band. They had settlements at Turkeytown on the Coosa, Willstown on Wills Creek, and Coldwater near Tuscumbia, occupied jointly with the Creeks and destroyed by the Whites in 1787. All of their Alabama territory was surrendered in treaties made between 1807 and 1835.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 implemented the U.S. government policy towards the Indian populations, which called for moving Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. While it did not authorize the forced removal of the indigenous tribes, it authorized the President to negotiate land exchange treaties with tribes located in lands of the United States.
Chickamauga Cherokee Tribe (Lower Cherokee)
The peoples who became known as the Choctaws (they call themselves Chahtas) originally lived as separate societies throughout east-central Mississippi and west-central Alabama. The Choctaw Indians established some 50 towns in present-day Mississippi and western Alabama. With a population of at least 15,000 by the turn of the nineteenth century, the Choctaws were one of the largest Indian groups in the South. Thousands of Choctaws remained in the Southeast even after removal and are known today as the federally recognized Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the state-recognized MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians (so named for their location in Mobile and Washington County) Choctaws of Alabama.
Encyclopedia of Alabama offers a superb article on Choctaws in Alabama.
A subtribe of the Muskogee.
A division of the Muskogee. Fushatchee were a Muscogee sub-tribe. They were located in Alabama and Florida.
The Fushatchee may have come out of three different Muscogee tribes: Kanhatki, Kolomi, and the Atasi. They were first noted as existing in 1733. Traders tracked them as being in the region from then until 1797. Some traders called them the “Coosahatchies of Swan”. The village is described by trader Hawkins as being on flat land, on the south side of the Tallapoosa River. The tribe grew corn on each side of the river. A ditch was built for fortification. Additional, older settlements were found down the river.
After the Red Stick War, the Fushatchee relocated to northern Florida. They disappeared in census data after 1832. Eventually, the tribe merged with the Kanhatki. They relocated together further west, after the Seminole Wars, and eventually into the Seminole Nation where they settled together. The tribe would be represented by the Seminole. Their village was called Liwahali.
Subtribe of the Muskogee.
A Muskhogean tribe which branched into Georgia.
Kan-hatki Tribe 3
Kealedji Tribe 3
A division of the Muskogee.
Kolomi Tribe 3
Koasati Tribe 3
A division of the Muskogee.
A sub-tribe of the Choctaw &/or Chickasaw.
A branch of the Choctaw. The word means “friends.”
Muskogee Tribe 3
The Muscogee, also known as the Creek and the Creek Confederacy, are a closely related group of native North American tribes or Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. They are originally from a single confederated native land that now comprises southern Tennessee, all of Alabama, western Georgia and part of northern Florida.
One section of the Natchez Indians settled among the the Abihka Creeks near Coosa River after 1731 and went to Oklahoma a century later with the rest of the Creeks.
The nearest connection found was to the Choctaw. They stayed around the Black Warrior River.
Okchai Tribe 3
A division of the Muskogee.
This was a branch of the Creek tribe. A Creek tribe and town of the Hitchiti connection.
It is believed their language was Muskogee but little is known about the meaning of Osochi. The closest relation seems to be with the Chiaha.
Pakana Tribe 3
This tribe moved from Florida to the neighborhood of Mobile along with the Alabama Indians and afterward established a town on the upper course of Alabama River. Still later they were absorbed into the Alabama division of the Creek Confederacy.
A branch of the Creeks.
This tribe belonged to the Muskhogean tribe.
Occupied the Tallapoosa & Sylacauga areas.
Tawasa Indians (Alibamu: Tawáha).
Locations: Autauga Alabama, Autauga County Alabama
A Muskhogean tribe first referred to by the De Soto chroniclers in the middle of the 16th century as Toasi and located in the neighborhood of Tallapoosa river.
In the early 1500s, the nomadic Tawasa tribe was found by Hernando De Soto, near central Alabama. Almost two centuries later, the Tawasa were ambushed by other tribes, who enslaved and relocated some of them. As for those who were able to get away, many accepted the help of the French and sought freedom in southern Alabama, near Mobile. Around a decade later, the tribe relocated again, near their original location of settlement, in central Alabama. The Tawasa remained where they were for around a century that is, until the Treaty of Fort Jackson, in 1814. After the signing of the treaty, the tribe relocated again, this time northeast of their old establishment, near Wetumpka. The tribe broke apart at that point, with some members joining the Creeks, some joining the Seminoles, and others unaccounted for. Subsequently they moved south east and constituted one of the tribes to which the name “Apalachicola” was given by the Spaniards.
This group came from Louisiana & settled in Mobile.
The Toasi were known to Anglo-Americans as the Tawasee or Tawasa. Apparently, before the French left, they were allied with the Alabama, but then joined the Creek Confederacy afterward.
A division of the Muskogean tribe.
A branch of the Muskogeans.
Wakokai Tribe 3
Wiwohka Tribe 3
There was a band of Yamasee on Mobile Bay shortly after 1715, at the mouth of Deer River, and such a band is entered on maps as late as 1744. It was possibly this same band which appears among the Upper Creeks during the same century and in particular is entered upon the Mitchell map of 1755. Later they seem to have moved across to Chattahoochee River and later to west Florida, where in 1823 they constituted a Seminole town.
This was an older tribe from around the Muscle Shoals area & it is suggested they probably moved toward the East Tennessee area.
The Yuchi people, spelled Euchee and Uchee, are people of a Native American tribe who historically lived in the eastern Tennessee River valley in Tennessee in the 16th century. The Yuchi built monumental earthworks. In the late 17th century, they moved south to Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. After suffering many fatalities from epidemic disease and warfare in the 18th century, several surviving Yuchi were removed to Indian Territory in the 1830s, together with their allies the Muscogee Creek.
The Account of Lamhatty
The Account of Lamhatty refers to a document that lists remembrances from a Tawasan Indian known as Lamhatty, who was captured and enslaved by Creek Natives. The document was interpreted by historian Robert Beverly, who sat down with Lamhatty to learn about and document his travels and experiences with other tribes. The article includes descriptions of tribes encountered, and mappings of how and where the tribes made settlements. Lamhatty was originally a part of the Tawasa Tribe, however when he was captured he was sold to another tribe known as the Shawnee Indians. Lamhatty stayed with the Shawnee tribe, until he escaped to find refuge with the English, in Virginia. At this time, Lamhatty met Beverly, who then began to break down Lamhatty’s travels.
- Swanton, John Reed (1922). Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 13.
- “Alabama Indian Tribe | Digital AlabamaDigital Alabama”. digitalalabama.com. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
- “Tawasa Indians | Access Genealogy”. Access Genealogy. 2012-04-29. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
- Snyder, Christina (2010). Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America. p. 67.
- Bushnell, David (1908). The Account of Lamhatty.
- “Pawokti”. www.native-languages.org. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
Yuchi Tribal Leaders
Yuchi Leader. Born one of eight children of a Scots trader, Timothy Barnard, and a Yuchi woman. He was taught the Yuchi dialect of his mother, the English of his father, and the Muscogee dialect of the Creek people since the Yuchi people had been largely exterminated or absorbed by the Creek and Cherokee by the 18th century. Barnard served as the agent of the Lower Creeks in 1793 and 1794 and was one of the interpreters at the Treaty of Coleraine in 1796. In January 1814 Barnard was commissioned major and placed in command of one hundred Yuchi warriors. Barnard fought with the Americans at the Battle of Callabee Creek. He was one of the signatories to the treaty of Fort Jackson in August 1814 which ended the Creek War. In 1818 under General Andrew Jackson he fought in the Seminole War and distinguishing himself in the Battle at Natural Bridge, where was rescued the only survivor of a massacre on the Apalachicola River. He took a Creek wife and settled near the Creek Agency on the Flint River in present day Georgia where he fathered six children. In 1825 Chief McIntosh of the Creek nation, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs which agreed to cede all Lower Creek land to Georgia. Barnard opposed the treaty, and was one of the delegation that went to Washington to protest against its validity. Barnard then retired to his home near Fort Mitchell in present day Alabama. He was believed to have been about 60 at the time of his death. Andrew Jackson would later eulogize Barnard to his son, William: “A braver man than your father never lived.”
Fort Mitchell, Russell County, Alabama, USA
Native American Bands Of Alabama:
Ma-Chis Lower Creek
Mowa Band Choctaw
Star Clan of Muskogee Creek
United Cherokee (Ani-Yum-Wiya Nation).
Native American Bands Of Alabama
Echola Cherokee, Ma-Chis Lower Creek, Mowa Band Choctaw, Principle Creek, Poarch Creek, Star Clan of Muskogee Creek, United Cherokee (Ani-Yum-Wiya Nation).
Cherokee Clans: Wolf, Paint, Deer, Bird, Wild Potato, Long Hair and Blue.
Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama
Poarch Band of Creek Indians
Stephanie A. Bryan, Tribal Chair
5811 Jack Springs Road
Atmore, AL 36502
(Note: Also recognized by the Federal Government)
Echota Cherokee Tribe Of Alabama
Stanley Trimm, Chief
410 Main Street West
Glencoe, AL 35905
Cherokee Tribe Of Northeast Alabama
Stan Long, Chief
113 Parker Drive
Huntsville, AL 35811
Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama
James Wright, Chief
64 Private Road 1312
Elba, AL 36323
Fax: (334) 897-2950
Southeastern Mvskoke Nation
Ronnie F. Williams, Chief
208 Dale Circle
Midland City, AL 36350
Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians
Violet Hamilton, Chief
1315 Northfield Circle
Dothan, AL 36303
MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
Lebaron Byrd, Chief
1080 Red Fox Road
Mount Vernon, AL 36560
Piqua Shawnee Tribe
Gary Hunt, Chief
4001 Evans Lane
Oxford, AL 36203
(256) 239-1523 or (256) 835-2110
Judy Dixon, Chief
1531 Blount Ave or P.O. Box 754
Guntersville, AL 35976
E-Mail: to email@example.com
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
- Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
3. Kan-hatki, Kealedji, Kolomi, Koasati, Muskogee, Okchai, Pakana, Wakokai, Wiwohka, where all subtribes branched from the Muskogee tribe which was apparently the most dominant tribe of Alabama. The Tukabahchee tribe was one of the four heads of the Muskogee’s.