Not Just a Hunting Ground: Native Americans in Kentucky

There has long been a myth that Native Americans never lived in Kentucky. This myth due largely to land speculators, who promoted Kentucky as an empty country to improve land sales.  Sadly this myth holds on strong to this day.  Native Americans have lived in Kentucky for more than 14,000 years. The first Native Americans to call Kentucky home were the Paleoindians, who moved into Kentucky around 12,000 B.C. According to the 2010 Census 31,335 people of Native American decent live in Kentucky, with 10,120 of those being people of full blood status. The Purpose of this exhibit is to shed some light on the history and culture of Kentucky’s first peoples. It will take you on a journey to highlight their history from the Paleoindian period to the Present day. Due to the sheer amount of information on Native American history and culture this exhibit serves merely as a starting point.

To learn more about the history and culture of the Native Americans of Kentucky these sites are wonderful resources: The Kentucky Native American Heritage Council, The University of Kentucky Anthology Museum, and Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site. There are also numerous books on the Cherokee, Shawnee and Chickasaw peoples. 

The Lexington History Museum would like to thank the following, without whom this exhibit would not have been possible:

  • Images courtesy of the Kentucky, Archaeology Survey/ KentuckyHeritage Council
  • Images courtesy from the Kentucky Living Archeology Weekend
  • Images, artifacts, and information courtesy of The University of Kentucky Anthropology Museum
  • Image courtesy of the Chickasaw Community Council
  • Images Courtesy of the Chickasaw Cultural Center
  • Images Courtesy of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian
  • Dioramas and wigwam courtesy of the Henry Clay Highschool History Club
  • Exhibit space courtesy of the Lyric Theater
PDF icon Entrance Panel.pdf1.38 MB
PDF icon Paleoindian.pdf2.99 MB
PDF icon Archaic.pdf1.88 MB
PDF icon Adena.pdf1.19 MB
PDF icon Adena mounds,earthworks, and tech.pdf1.56 MB
PDF icon Rockshelters and caves.pdf812.74 KB
PDF icon Fort Ancient.pdf3.06 MB
PDF icon Mississippian.pdf1.15 MB
PDF icon Fight for Kentucky.pdf1.37 MB
PDF icon 1769.pdf598.48 KB
PDF icon 1771.pdf594.59 KB
PDF icon 1774.pdf594.62 KB
PDF icon 1776.pdf602.38 KB
PDF icon 1777.pdf607.05 KB
PDF icon 1778.pdf604.5 KB
PDF icon 1779.pdf604.79 KB
PDF icon 1780.pdf603.63 KB
PDF icon 1781.pdf603.62 KB
PDF icon 1782.pdf605.94 KB
PDF icon 1783.pdf599.29 KB
PDF icon 1784.pdf595 KB
PDF icon 1785-6.pdf597.8 KB
PDF icon 1787.pdf596.47 KB
PDF icon 1788.pdf602.61 KB
PDF icon 1789.pdf602.28 KB
PDF icon 1790.pdf602.64 KB
PDF icon 1792.pdf596.55 KB
PDF icon 1793.pdf598.86 KB
PDF icon 1795.pdf596.31 KB
PDF icon Choctaw academy.pdf1.11 MB
PDF icon The Cherokee.pdf912.73 KB
PDF icon The chickasaw.pdf932.61 KB
PDF icon The Shawnee.pdf748.08 KB
PDF icon Kentucky N A Heritage Council.pdf882.38 KB
PDF icon State Recognized panel.pdf1.16 MB