I'm not sure I explained my question properly. What I am asking about is a community of people living in Casey County who were ethnically Cherokee, not whether or not there was a tribal claim to land in Kentucky in the 1880s-1900s.
These people would have owned or rented farms as individuals, and may have all lived near each other as a community. I know they were there, I just don't know who they were or how to identify them (other than looking at ethnicity on the censuses, which are completely unreliable for that, since so many people claimed to be White in order to protect themselves, plus so many census takers were careless or barely literate enough for the job).
I don't know if there was a small community or possibly a road where most of them lived, and I don't know how many households it was. It might have been extremely small, perhaps only 2 or 3 families.
I'm hoping someone can tell me anything I don't know about them. I do know that there were a few (or more than a few) Cherokee families living there at that time, from my grandmother, and that they liked to spend time in the woods as a group. It might even have been a small group of men who were all part Cherokee who got together to go hunting and camping whenever they could get away.
My grandma's and great-grandma's experience was that my great-grandfather was always going off into the woods, even long after there was no one left to go there with, and this was his explanation (that he grew up spending a lot of time with the local Cherokee in the woods). He was an honest and serious man, so I know he didn't make that up. The only question is whether my grandmother interpreted his meaning correctly.
I wonder if these families were related to Red Bird or Willie, two Cherokee men who were murdered in Clay County, Kentucky in 1797. They were accepted by the community enough that their murderer was convicted and hanged (in a time when Native Americans were being legally hunted and killed elsewhere).
The Trail of Tears did not affect any Cherokee families who were living in Kentucky, so they would have still been there, intermarrying with everyone else, and disappearing as a distinct population over time.
These are the people I am looking for, not a village of people living in a traditional way and claiming tribal ownership of land. These would be people who adapted, but still kept some traditions alive.