By Vincent Schilling
According to Thornton, there is a vast Native presence in his state, contrary to the beliefs of the majority of Kentuckians. “There are still so many people that believe Native Americans never lived in Kentucky. Most people believe that American Indians only fought battles or traveled through the state. That is a huge farce that has been proven and re-proven. In fact, they have built many small towns here in Kentucky on the remains of Native villages.”
Thornton’s claims aren’t without merit. According to an archive article in KentuckyLiving.com, more than 22,000 archaeological sites have already been recorded within the state, ranging from small backyard finds to larger accumulations that attract university researchers. In the article, University of Kentucky assistant professor Dr. George Crothers, says the discovered sites may represent only about 20 percent of the actual sites discovered as of 2004.
Currently, there are no formally recognized American Indian tribes by the Kentucky General Assembly. Although in 2009, the Ridgetop Shawnee Tribe was recognized and commended for its work as a nonprofit organization, the tribe has since terminated registration and member services as of October 2010.
Below: Jerry "2 Feather" Thornton.