Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia

West Virginia State Tribal Group

Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia (AAIWV)

West Virginia adopted the Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia (AAIWV) as the official state tribal group in 1996.


By Senators Love, Schoonover and Whitlow

Recognizing Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia as an official tribal group of the state of West Virginia.

  • Whereas, American Indians were the original inhabitants of the lands that now comprise the United States of America and West Virginia; and
  • Whereas, The people of West Virginia should be reminded of the assistance given to the early European visitors to North America by the ancestors of today's American Indians, including knowledge and training provided to the pilgrims in survival, hunting and cultivation and fertilization of indigenous crops; and
  • Whereas, Citizens should be reminded that certain concepts such as the freedom of speech and the separation of powers in government, all of which were found in the political systems of various American Indian nations, influenced the formation of the government of the United States of America; and
  • Whereas, American Indians have contributed vastly to the knowledge of botanical medicines and pharmacopeia upon which medical science has relied heavily throughout American history and to which medical professionals are turning to discover cures and treatments for illnesses which afflict humanity in today's modern world; and
  • Whereas, American Indians have made a profound impact on West Virginia history, which has been enriched with American Indians who have contributed significantly to our heritage, our way of life and our love of nature as reflected in the place names of our rivers such as Ohio, Monogahela and Kanawha, our counties such as Logan and Mingo, and our state parks and forests such as Seneca Rocks and Watoga; and
  • Whereas, The state of West Virginia has a unique intertribal history as an area esteemed for its great natural resources depended upon by, and as a haven during troubled times for, American Indians of many woodlands and eastern tribes such as, but not limited to, Cherokee, Delaware, Mingo, Mohican, Seneca, Shawnee, Tuscaroras and Wyandot; and
  • Whereas, American Indians and the descendants of American Indians live throughout the state of West Virginia and contribute to all economic, cultural, political and social aspects of West Virginia; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia will continue to keep alive the oral history and traditions that have been handed down to them through their families for hundreds of years; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia perpetuate the ideas, cultures and traditions of American Indians in order to enlighten others to the American Indian way of life through serving as a focal point from which educational institutions, professional organizations and interested parties can obtain such information; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia raise public awareness of the history and the current life and conditions of American Indian peoples and cultures through activities which may include, but is not limited to, pow wows and educational programs; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia provide a "home" for American Indians, their descendants and those who come seeking an intertribal tribe; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia assists persons by providing information on genealogy research and accumulates notarized statements, vital statistics records and published historical data which substantiate oral family histories in an organized, comprehensive manner; and
  • Whereas, Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia support, within the scope of its abilities, tribal members who suffer economic and emotional difficulties; and


That the Senate hereby recognizes the Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia as an official intertribal tribe of the state of West Virginia.


"Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia, Inc. (AAIWV) is an intertribal tribe of Native Americans and their mixed blood lineal descendants. Currently we have nearly 5000 members in West Virginia and the surrounding States representing the bloodlines from 84 different Native American Tribes. Consistant with the history of this area, the majority of our members share Cherokee or Shawnee ancestry, although tribes as distant as the Ojibway, Seneca and Apache are also represented. AAIWV is the largest group of Native Americans, Native American descendants and supporters of Native Americans in the State of West Virginia. Appalachian American Indians of West Virginia was organized in 1986 then chartered in 1989 as the Appalachian American Indian Society, a 501(c) 3 corporation registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State with 11 original members.

The goals of AAIWV are to provide a "tribal home" for Native Americans in West Virginia, to save precious pieces of our heritage that are in danger of being lost, and to educate both Native Americans and the general public about the history and culture of Native Americans in this State. We do this through extensive teaching activities throughout the State, by holding free Pow Wows open to the public, and through meetings. In addition to our normal monthly Tribal Council meetings in Beckley, WV, we also publish a monthly newsletter, The Appalachian Indian Voice, which is distributed free to our members. AAIWV also provides assistance to members, with a Food Pantry, as well as assistance with counseling and educational needs. AAIWV is supported solely by the contributions of its members. We charge no fees or membership dues to our members. Our public speaking and educational activities are also performed without charge to the community. No member representing AAIWV may accept speaking fees for public activities.

AAIWV is governed by an elected Tribal Council consisting of a Principle Chief, Chief, Tribal Officer, Tribal Liaison, Secretary, Treasurer, and fourteen elected Tribal Councilors."

West Virginia