Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( Alabama)|
The Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama is a state-recognized Native American heritage group based in northern Alabama. This was among the first seven organizations to be recognized by the state under its legislation in 1984.
The organization consists of people who do not meet the enrollment requirements of any of the three, federally-recognized Cherokee tribes. They state they are the descendants of Cherokee remnant peoples who remained in northern Alabama at the time of Indian Removal. However, after the passage of the Indian Removal Act in the late 1830s, most of the Cherokee People were driven out of the Southeast; they were forcibly marched under military guard to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Many Cherokee died during this brutal event, which came to be known as The Trail of Tears. While small numbers of Cherokee people in the Southeastern US intermarried with whites and abandoned their culture, the Cherokee People who resisted removal yet remained together as a tribe and culture now belong to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
There are numerous organizations in the US who identify as having Cherokee heritage. Some of these group members have no documented connection to the Cherokee people, but many do have documentation. The Dawes Act was a US Government attempt to assimilate Native Americans wholly and completely into American culture. Unfortunately for many, it worked. Therefore, there are many Cherokee descendants today who do not qualify for citizenship into a federally recognized tribe even though they may have possess more blood quantum than some who are enrolled. Some of these groups apply to US State governments for the governmental recognition that has been denied to them by Indian Nations.
In 1980 a group of people who were ineligible to enroll in any federally-recognized Native American tribe set up a non-profit heritage club known as "The Echota Cherokee." In 1984, when the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission was established, they attained state recognition, despite their lack of recognition by the Cherokee Nation. The group is located in Falkville, Alabama.
Currently, the Echota Cherokee organization claims 22,000 members. They have elected a council that hopes to offer "instruction in the Cherokee language through the Alabama public school system."
Despite being considered a fraudulent group by the Cherokee Nation, the Echota have a representative on the Alabama Indian Commission. and the Inter-Tribal Council of Alabama's WIA Program, to assist workforce improvement.
The Echota are not federally recognized as an Indian tribe. They are, however, recognized as a state tribe.
- Stacye Hathorn, 'The Echota Cherokee Language: Current Use and Opinions about Revival', in Teaching Indigenous Language, 1997
- 'State-recognized Tribes', Alabama Indian Commission
- Cherokee Nation Task Force (3/26/2011) "Fraudulent Group List," What is a real Indian Nation? What is a fake tribe? Accessed 20 Oct, 2014
- McKie, Scott (14 Oct 2011) "Tribe establishes Cherokee Identity Protection Committee" in The One Feather. Accessed 20 Oct 2014
- "The Echota Cherokee Tribe", hosted by Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, accessed 20 October 2014
- 'Intertribal Council of Alabama'
- "The Echota Cherokee Tribe", hosted by Alabama Indian Affairs Commission