Summary of Native American Tribes – C

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Chemehuevi boy, Edward S. Curtis, 1907

Chemehuevi boy, Edward S. Curtis, 1907

Chemehuevi – A branch of the Southern Paiute tribe, Chemehuevi is a Mojave term meaning “those that play with fish, but the are known to themselves as Nuwu, meaning “people. For thousands of years that have lived in the Mojave Desert’s mountains and canyons and the Colorado River shoreline in Arizona and Colorado. When or how they acquired possession of what appears to have been Yuman territory is not known. There number was estimated to be about 1,500 in the mid 1800’s, and in 1853, they lost their traditional lands when they were declared public domain by the U.S. government. Hostilities and disease caused their numbers to decline and by the early 20th century they had been reduced to only about 300.

Federal authorities established the Chemehuevi Valley Reservation in 1907 which protected some 36,000 acres of Chemehuevi homeland. However, they were later relocated to the Parker area, and their status as a tribe was removed. The tribe was reinstated decades later in 1970 and their reservation today is approximately 32,000 acres including 30 miles of the Colorado River.


Chepenafa – A Kalapooian tribe, sometimes regarded as a subdivision of the Lakmiut, they formerly lived at the forks of St Marys Creek, near Corvallis, Oregon. They were nearly wiped out by disease by the 1830’s and in 1855, the few were were left were removed to the Grand Ronde Reservation, which still exists today. By 1870 they nymbered just 49 people and in 1910, only 24. The Grande Ronde Reservation, being officially known as Marys River Indians, consists of twenty-seven Native American tribes.


Cheraw – An important tribe, probably of Siouan stock, they formerly ranged east of the Blue Ridge, from about present-day  Danville, Virginia southward to the neighborhood of Cheraw, South Carolina. Though they were once almost as large as the Tuscarora tribe in North Carolina, they are less prominent in history because they were almost completely gone before the white settlements had reached their territory. They were first mentioned by Hernando de Sota in 1540 under the name of Xuala, a corruption of Suali, the name by which they are traditionally known to the Cherokee, who remember them as having anciently lived beyond the Blue Ridge.

Some years later, but previous to 1700, they settled on the Dan River near the south line of Virginia. About a decade later, they were being so harasses by the Iroquois, they abandoned their home on the Dan River and moved southeast to join the Keyauwee. However, when the North Carolina colonists became dissatisfied at the proximity of Indians, Governor Eden declared war against the Cheraw. The war was carried on against the Cheraw and their allies until the defeat and expulsion of the Yamasee in 1716. At the close of the Yamasi War the Cheraw were dwelling on the upper Pedee River near the line between the Carolinas. By 1715, they were estimated to have numbered about 510, but this number probably included the Keyauwee. Being still subject to attack by the Iroquois, they finally incorporated into the Catawba tribe between 1726 and 1739. They are mentioned as with the Catawba but, still speaking their own distinct dialect as late as 1743. The last documentation of them was in 1768, when they had been reduced by war and disease to 50 or 60 people and were still living with the Catawba.

Cherokee Of Oklahoma FlagCherokee - Eastern Band FlagCherokee – (also called Tsalagi) The Cherokee first lived in the American Southeast, mostly in Tennessee and Georgia. Depending upon natural resources for survival, they built homes from branches and stalks woven together to make frame buildings. The Cherokee were spread throughout the southeast in about 200 villages, each having as many as 60 houses. Hunting game for meat, they were also considered to be excellent farmers. It was the Cherokee who were forcibly deported to Oklahoma along the infamous Trail of Tears. More ..


Chesapeake – Little known in regard to the name than that it designated to the small Powhatan tribe that once resided in  Princess Anne and Norfolk Counties of Virginia. In 1608 their principal village was situated on the Linnhaven River in Princess Anne County, at which time they were estimated to have about 350 people. A half a century later they had entirely disappeared as a distinct people.


Chetco – A group of former Athapascan villages situated on each side of the mouth of and about 14 miles up the Chetco River in Oregon. The people then resided in nine villages and were closely allied to the Tolowa of California, from whom they differed but slightly in language and customs.

Cheyenne – Originally residents of Minnesota, the Cheyenne ranged west into the Dakotas and south into Wyoming, Colorado, and even as far as Kansas. Before migrating, the Cheyenne lived in permanent villages of earthen lodges and dome-shaped wigwams. However, as they adopted a more migratory life-style, following the buffalo, they lived in teepees. Surviving several American massacres, the US government forcibly relocated them to Oklahoma during the late 1800’s, although some escaped and fled north into Montana. Today the Cheyenne live in two tribes, one in Oklahoma and the other in Montana.

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Cheyenne Warriors by Edward S. Curtis

Cheyenne Warriors by Edward S. Curtis


Chiaha – Also called the Tolameco or Solameco, the Chiaha belonged to the Muscogean linguistic stock and in later times spoke the Muskogee language, but there are reasons to class them in the Hitchiti group. In later historic times the Chiaha were on the middle course of Chattahoochee River, but at the earliest period at which we have any knowledge of them they seem to have been divided into two bands, one on Burns Island, in Tennessee, the other in eastern Georgia near the coast. The Mikasuki of northern Florida are said to have separated from these people. Some confusion regarding this tribe has been occasioned by the fact that in the sixteenth century there appear to have been two divisions. The name was first documented by Hernando De Soto narratives describing a village on an island in the Tennessee River thought to have been Burns Island close to the Tennessee-Alabama line. Another reference that might apply to them occurs in the names of two Creek bodies “Chehaw” and “Chearhaw” in the early 1800’s. After the Creek moved to Oklahoma the Chiaha settled in the northeastern corner of the Creek Reservation and maintained a square ground there until after the Civil War, but, later were absorbed into the tribe. Some of them went to Florida and the Mikasuki are said by some to have branched off from them.


Chickahominy –  A tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy, they formerly lived on Chickahominy River in Virginia. It was one of the most important tribes in the state, numbering 250 warriors, and probably about 900 people total. In 1613 they entered into an alliance with the English and assumed the name of Tassautessus or “Englishmen.” In 1669 they were still estimated at a little over 200 people but, by 1722, they were reported to number only about 80. By the 20th Century there was a mixed-blood band numbering about 200 people still calling themselves Chickahominy. The Chickahominy were recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1983, but continue to seek Federal recognition. Today, the tribe of approximately 840 people most of whom primarily live in Charles City County, Virginia near their tribal center.

Summaries:  A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N  O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z

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