I think some researchers have hurt the chances of all pepole with Indian roots that tie them to Kentucky by making false claims. Some mistakes are intentional and by just a few researchers. But most researchers are innocent, and just copy what others have said. The fact that some false claims have been made have hurt the rest of us, because if we believe those using bad research techniques, we quit looking for our REAL ancestors, and believe those others. But throwing away that bad research, I have found my true heritage. Maybe not as glamorous in some ways, but in other ways more interesting than ever.
There has NEVER been a band of Kentucky Cherokee, not in historic times, at least. Those Cherokee who WERE in Kentucky were raiding the settlers who were moving onto their hunting grounds. Their hunting grounds was very important to them. They would come up to Kentucky to hunt. they'd dry or otherwise preserve the meat for later consumption and tan the hides and sell them for European style cooking untisils, muskets and ammunition, clothing and other goods they couldn't produce. They had hunting camps in Kentucky, but they lived further south.
BUT -- many families of mixed race DID, a generation or so later, move to various parts of Kentucky, specifically south central --Wayne, Whatley, and nearby counties. This group might very well have Cherokee blood, but it is not proven, for the most part. But all were whites (usually descended from the traders or the long-rifles) who married Indians from further south, mixed race people.
There never was any Doublehead Band of Cherokee living perminantly in Kentucky or a Yahoo Falls massacre -- these things never happened. There was NO "Chief Red Bird" living in Kentucky. There was an Indian hunter named redbird who while hunting in SE Ky was killed in 1797 by whites and I believe a River was named after him -- but he lived further south in the Cherokee Nation. Red Bird was a common name -- an many Cherokee have been documented with that name, even Chief Chadwick Redbird Smith of today's Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee still had hunting rights though in South Kentucky for many years, but they lived further south.
Having said this, mixed race families DID move to S Ky but I don't think it can be "proven" they were Cherokee. For instance, mixed race Indian families of McGoffin (sp?) County have been proven to have descended from some Melungeon families who were Saponi/Catawba -- e. g., descending from the Siouan tribes of the Southeast, not the Cherokee.
Several tribes used Kentucky as part of their hunting grounds -- Algonquin -- Shawnee, Miama, Delaware (and the Nanticoke are still documentyed separately from the Delaware as far west as Indiana -- after that, they seem to have merged as one by the time they arrive in Oklahoma) who migrated westward with them); The Siouan -- Monacan, Tutelo, Cheraw and other bands; as well as the Cherokee and others -- Seneca. There was one group called "Seneca of the Sandusky" about whom it was said "there was not a Seneca amongst them". They had earlier been called "Mingo" and they were subservient to the Iroquois, they were a conquered people. These later came to Oklahoma and are part of the federally recognized "Seneca-Cayuga Tribe" living near Miami, Oklahoma, today. Almost all the tribes once on the Ohio River Valley and it's tributaries are now in Oklahoma, all except a couple that have remained in Kansas. Also i think there is a band of the Kickapoo still in Texas. Of those in Oklahoma, Muriel H. Wright's book, "A Guide to the Indian Tribes of oklahoma" is a wonderful book documenting the migration paths of the various Indian nations, bands and tribes. No better book exists on this topic.
If you forget about the other stories about a "Chief Red Bird" and about "Doublehead's home" and the "Yahoo Falls massacre" --these stories are just made up -- we can still find a rich American Indian heritage to be proud of.
And we can still find wonderful little knows stories that have truth to them if we dig hard, and ignore that nonsense history that is out there clouding and fogging us from seeing it.