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The name Alabama comes from a Choctaw word meaning "Thicket-clearer" or Vegetation-gatherers"
Tribes and Bands of Alabama
The following list of American Indians who have lived in Alabama has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians... and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America. Some may simply be variant spellings for the same tribe.
Tribes: Abihka, Alabama, Apalachee, Apalachicola, Atasi, Chatot, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Eufaula, Fus-hatchee, Hilibi, Hitchiti, Ispokogi, Kan-hatki, Kealedji, Koasati, Kolomi, Mobile, Mukalsa, Muskogee, Napochi, Natchez, Okchai, Okmulgee, Osochi, Pakana, Pawokti, Pilthlako, Sawokli, Shawnee, Taensa, Tohome, Tukabahchee, Tuskegee, Wakokai, Wiwohka, Yamasee, Yuchi.
Bands: Echola Cherokee, Machis Lower Ala Creek, Mowa Band Choctaw, Principle Creek, Poarch Creek, Star Clan of Muskogee Creek, United Cherokee.
Cherokee Clans: Wolf, Paint, Deer, Bird, Wild Potato, Long Hair and Blue.
Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama
Cher-O-Creek Intertribal Indians, Cherokee of SE Alabama, Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, Echota Cherokee of Alabama, Langley Band of Chickamogee Cherokee Indians in the Southeastern U.S., Mowa Band of Choctaw Indians, Piqua Shawnee Tribe, Star Clan of Muskogee Creeks of Pike County, United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation (formerly United Cherokee Intertribal) and MaChis Lower Creek Indian
There are many sources with information about the Cherokees. For example, see:
- Allen, Maud Bliss. Census Records and Cherokee Muster Rolls. Washington, D.C.: n.p., 1935. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424am; film 908999 item2.) This source contains the Cherokee census of 1835 of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Two publications listing Cherokees east of the Mississippi in 1835 are:
- Tyner, James W. Those Who Cried: The 16,000: A Record of the Individual Cherokees Listed in the United States Official Census of the Cherokee Nation Conducted in 1835. N.p.: Chi-ga-u, 1974. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424tj.) Non-Cherokee census takers in 1835 made lists of Cherokees in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. There are some errors because they did not understand the native languages. The government defined a person as an Indian if he or she had one-quarter degree of Indian blood. The book is indexed and has excellent maps for that period.
This book provides the name of the head of the household and the number of whites and full-, half-, or quarter-blood Indians in the home. It also shows occupations, number of slaves owned, whether the people read English or Cherokee, and may mention if they owned a home, farm, or mill.
- United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Census Roll, 1835, of the Cherokee Indians East of the Mississippi and Index to the Roll, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T0496. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1960. (Family History Library film 833322.)
A list is available of the Cherokees living in Alabama in 1851:
- Siler, David W. The Eastern Cherokees, A Census of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia in 1851. Cottonport, Louisiana: Polyanthus, 1972. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424sd.) This list contains the names of each person’s father, mother and children, with their ages and relationship (De Kalb, Jackson, and Marshall Counties). An index is included.
For a history of the Cherokees to about 1835, and a map showing the Cherokee towns in the Alabama area, see:
- Malone, Henry Thompson. Cherokees of the Old South: A People in Transition. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1956. (Family History Library book 970.3 C424ma.) See the maps before the preface. At the end of the book there is a bibliography.
Additional Cherokee Records
- United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Cherokee Agency. Records of the Cherokee Agency in Tennessee, 1801–1835. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0208. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1952. (Family History Library films 1024418–31.) These records deal with the entire Cherokee Nation. They contain information about passes given to people during 1801 to 1804 allowing them to go through the Cherokee lands. These records also mention claims filed 1816 to 1833 and include the names of Army officers at posts; unauthorized settlements on Indian lands; land office records; and names of traders, settlers, missionaries, chiefs, and members of the tribe. See the introduction at the beginning of the first film to learn about the contents of these records. Many individuals are listed, however there is no index.
- United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Letters Received, 1824–1881; Registers of Letters Received, 1824–1880. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0018, M0234. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1942, 1956. (On 1088 reels, Family History Library films beginning with 1638620.) There are letters in this collection pertaining to each of the major tribes, but they are not indexed.
For a history of the Chickasaw nation, see:
- Malone, James H. The Chickasaw Nation: A Short Sketch of A Noble People. Louisville, Kentucky: John P. Morton, 1922. (Family History Library book 970.3 C432m.) A map at the end of the book shows the Mississippi and Alabama lands ceded by the Chickasaws in 1835.
A 1831 list of Choctaws in Alabama and Mississippi is in:
- American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive of the Congress of the United States cited under the subheading France (1710–1763) in Alabama Land and Property. Volume Seven, on Family History Library film 944499 item 2, pages 1–140, has the 1831 Armstrong roll of Choctaws owning farms who were entitled to receive land under the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of 1830. The volume is indexed. These records are like a census, listing head of family, the number of males over 16, number of males and females under 10, number of acres, and location.
Some published sources with information about the Creeks are:
- Snider, Billie Ford. Full Name Indexes, Eastern Creek Indians East of the Mississippi. Pensacola, Florida: Antique Compiling, 1993. (Family History Library book 970.3 C861sb; fiche 6126087). This source lists ancestors of the Eastern Creeks living in 1814 and descendants to about 1972. The final chapter contains a detailed history of the Creeks from the 1600s to 1973 and offers suggestions for Eastern Creek Indian ancestral research.
- Stiggins, George. Creek Indian History: A Historical Narrative of the Genealogy, Traditions and Downfall of the Ispocoga or Creek Indian Tribe of Indians. Birmingham, Alabama: Birmingham Public Library Press, 1989. (Family History Library book 970.3 C861s.) A bibliography is found on pages 166–70.
Rolls were prepared in 1832 of the Lower Creeks and the Upper Creeks. They contain the names of principal chiefs and heads of households, where they resided, number of people in the household and whether they owned slaves:
- Abbott, Thomas J. Creek Census of 1832 (Lower Creeks). Laguna Hills, California: Histree, 1987. (Family History Library book 970.3 C861a.) This is indexed by name.
- Parsons, Benjamin S. Creek Census of 1832 (Upper Creeks). Laguna Hills, California: Histree, 1987. (Family History Library book 970.3 C861pa.) This is indexed by name.
From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.
Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.
The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.
The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America, the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America, and other sources. Those reservations named in bold are current federally-recognized reservations, with their associated agency and tribe(s). Others have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government.
- Creek Reservation
- Poarch Band of Creek - State, under jurisdition of Choctaw Agency Tribe: Poarch Band of Creek
Map - Alabama- Indian Reservations - Federal Lands and Indian Reservations. by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.
Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.
The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Washington has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs..., Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians, and others.
- Choctaw Agency, 421 Powell, Philadelphia, MS, 39350
Some Important Historical Events
Most American Indians in Alabama were forced to go to the Indian Territory (now a part of Oklahoma) in the 1830s. A few remained in Alabama.
General histories with information about the events involving the American Indians in Alabama are:
- Pickett, Albert James. History of Alabama and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, From the Earliest Period. Sheffield, Alabama: R.C. Randolph, 1896. (Family History Library book 976.1 H2p; film 924406.) This book gives a chronological history of the events affecting the American Indians to about 1820.
- Young, Mary Elizabeth. Redskins, Ruffleshirts and Rednecks: Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi 1830–1860. The Civilization of the American Indian Series. Norman. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961. (Family History Library book 970.1 Y86r.) This book describes the opening up and sale of Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek Indian lands until about the 1840s. An excellent bibliography is found at the end of the book.
Redskins Ruffleshirts and Rednecks-Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi 1830-1860. by Mary Elizabeth Young. C. 1961 University of Oklahoma Pres. Norman, Oklahoma. Library of Congress number: 61-15150. Family History Library book 970.1 Y86r
- This book contains maps showing: Location of Creek allotments and original counties of the Creek Cession Land Offerings.
Alabama Military for a list of forts.
Alabama History (calendar) for information on land ceded by the Indians.
Bibliography of Published Books and Articles
- The book Alabama History: An Annotated Bibliography by Lynda W. Brown mentioned in Alabama History contains sections on the American Indian tribes of Alabama
Family History Library
American Indian records are listed in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the tribe, such as:
Records of American Indians can also be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
- ↑ Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.
- ↑ Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
- ↑ Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
- "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.
- American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
- Gilbert, William Harlen, Jr. Surviving Indian Groups in the Eastern United States. Pp. 407-438 of the Smithsonian Report for 1948. Available online.
- Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981.
- Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974.
- Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
- Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991. ISBN 1-55888-336-3 L of C E154.045 1990
- National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
- Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
- Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online. (ISBN 0-8063-1730-2 L of C 2002117802)
- Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde., American Indian Reservations and Trust Areas. C. 1996, Tiller Research Incorporated. Family History Library book 970.1 T463a No ISBN, or LC #
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