Native Americans lived throughout Georgia prior to the arrival of European colonists. Most of Georgia's tribes were removed from their land during the "Trail of Tears" movement in the late 1830s. As of June 2011, none of Georgia's modern-day Native American tribes have received federal recognition. However, three tribes are recognized by the Georgia government as Native American descendants: the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee, Cherokee Indians of Georgia, and the Lower Muscogee Creek Tribe.
In Georgia, the Cherokee nation has two tribes, the Cherokee Indians of Georgia (see Resources), based out of Albany, and the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee (see Resources), whose offices are in Cumming. Historically, the Cherokee lived in the North Georgia Mountains region, near East Tennessee and North Carolina. During the early 19th century, the Cherokee were considered by the U.S. government as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes," since they had adapted European technologies and cultural practices. The Cherokee also had their own language, created by Sequoyah, who was a resident of North Georgia during his adulthood.
The Creek Native Americans were the dominant tribe in Georgia before Europeans colonized the region. During Georgia's colonial period, the Creek outnumbered and reigned over more land than the European settlers. The creation of the Creek Nation was the result of an alliance between preexisting tribes, including the Muskogee, Hitchiti and Alabama Indians; the alliance was formed to defend themselves from Spanish forces. Although relations between English settlers and Creeks were initially amicable, the United States and Creek Native Americans fought in the Creek Indian War from 1813 to 1814. The Creeks were removed from Georgia to western territories in the 1830s. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation (see Resources) represents modern-day members of the Creek tribe in Georgia.
Most of the Apalachee Native American population lived in Northwest Florida, but their territory stretched over to Georgia's southwestern corner. During the 17th century, Spanish colonists referred to this land as the Apalachee province. Remnants of Apalachee culture may be seen at Velda Mound and Mission San Luis, both in the greater Tallahassee, Florida, area. The Apalachee also had their own language. However, conflicts with Europeans and European-introduced diseases resulted in the complete removal of the Apalachees from Georgia to modern-day Louisiana.
The Timucua Native Americans dwelled in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia prior to the arrival of the French in the 16th century. Before European arrival, the Timucua were one of the largest tribes in the modern-day South region of the United States and lived in the region for approximately 6,000 years. Also, the Timucua had their own language. The Timucua and European settlers tolerated each other at first but later engaged in a succession of wars. The wars, along with European-introduced diseases, brought about the demise of the Timucuan people in the 18th and 19th centuries. As of June 2011, the Timucuans are considered an extinct civilization.
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