The Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States (Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia). Linguistically, they are connected to speakers of the Iroquoian language family. The Cherokee refer to themselves as Tsa-la-gi (ᏣᎳᎩ) (pronounced "Jah la gee" in the western dialect, "Zah la gee" or "Tsa lah gee" in the eastern Giduwa dialect) or A-ni-yv-wi-ya (ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ) (pronounced "Ah knee yuh wee yah" (Western dialect) or "Ah nee yuhn wi yah" (Eastern dialect), literal translation: "Principal People").
In the 19th century, the Cherokees were known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", because they had integrated numerous cultural and technological practices of their European-American neighbors. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, they are the largest of the 563 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.
Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is located in Cherokee, North Carolina.