National Native American Heritage Month – Indigenous Lands Acknowledgment

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup county.
We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life.


November is Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. We give thanks for the organizations that work together with Native Americans to help with the current needs of tribes, raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

Native American Presbyterians are one of the most economically challenged constituencies in the Presbyterian Church, USA. Ninety-four of these congregations are on reservations. The Central Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Arizona is the only one not on a reservation. Members of these congregations find work with their tribes at mostly minimum-wage positions. Much of their funding before the 1970’s came through the national denomination then their synods or presbyteries. Most of that funding went to the ministry needs of the congregations. Infrastructure needs were often not addressed. This background information is provided to help you understand the needs of these Native American Presbyterian congregations. Most giving to these churches has helped the ministries continue their work but very little has gone toward the structural needs of their buildings. If you would like to give to this Fund or pass this information to others, you may use this link:

Other local resources about Native American History in Kentucky: 

Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission

Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum ​​

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth