infobox ethnic group
group = Shawnee

Flag of The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma

Flag of The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of OklahomaFlag of The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
poptime = 14,000
popplace = Oklahomafact|date=August 2008
langs = Shawnee, English
rels = traditional beliefs and Christianity
related = Sac and Fox

The Shawnee, or Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, ["Shawano" was an archaic name for the tribes bearing this generic name "Shaawanwa lenaki". Reference: [ Shawnee Traditions] .] are a people native to North America. They originally inhabited the areas of Ohio, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.


Early history

The prehistoric origins of the Shawnees are quite uncertain. The other Algonquian nations regarded the Shawnee as their southernmost branch, and other Algonquian languages have words similar to the archaic "shawano" (now: "shaawanwa") meaning "south". However, the stem "shaawa-" does not mean "south" in Shawnee, but "moderate, warm (of weather)". In one Shawnee tale, Shaawaki is the deity of the south. Some scholars have speculated that the Shawnee are descendants of the people of the prehistoric Fort Ancient culture of the Ohio country, although other scholars disagree, and no definitive proof has been established. [O'Donnell, James H. "Ohio's First Peoples", p. 31. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8214-1525-5 (paperback), ISBN 0-8214-1524-7 (hardcover), also: Howard, James H. "Shawnee!: The Ceremonialism of a Native Indian Tribe and its Cultural Background", p. 1. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8214-0417-2; ISBN 0-8214-0614-0 (pbk.), and the unpublished dissertation Schutz, Noel W. Jr.: "The Study of Shawnee Myth in an Ethnographic and Ethnohistorical Perspective", Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, 1975.]

Sometime before 1670, a group of Shawnee had migrated to the Savannah River area. The English of Province of Carolina based in Charles Town were first contacted by these Shawnees in 1674, after which a long lasting alliance was forged. The Savannah River Shawnee were known to the Carolina English as "Savannah Indians". Around the same time other Shawnee groups migrated to Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other regions south and east of the Ohio country. Historian Alan Gallay speculates that this Shawnee diaspora of the middle to late 17th century was probably driven by the Iroquois Wars that began in the 1640s. The Shawnee became known for their widespread settlements and migrations and their frequent long-distance visits to other Indian groups. Their language became a lingua franca among numerous tribes, which along with their experience helped make them leaders in initiating and sustaining pan-Indian resistance to European and Euro-American expansion. [Gallay, Alan. "The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717", p. 55. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-300-10193-7]

Prior to 1752, they had a headquarters at Shawnee Springs near Winchester, Virginia, where the father of the later Chief Cornstalk had his court. At some point, they had settled in the Ohio country, the area that is now West Virginia, southern Ohio, and northern Kentucky.

The Iroquois later claimed the Ohio Country region by right of conquest, regarding the Shawnee and Delaware who resettled there as dependent tribes. Many Iroquois also migrated westward at this time and became known as the Mingo. These three tribes—the Shawnee, the Delaware, and the Mingo—became closely associated in the Ohio country.

ixty Years' War

After the Battle of the Monongahela in 1755, many Shawnees fought with the French during the early years of the French and Indian War until they signed the Treaty of Easton in 1758. When the French were defeated in 1763, many Shawnee joined Pontiac's Rebellion against the British, which failed a year later.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763, which was issued during Pontiac's Rebellion, drew a boundary line between the British colonies in the east and the Ohio Country, which was west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, however, extended that line westwards, giving the British a claim to what is now West Virginia and Kentucky. Shawnees did not agree to this treaty: it was negotiated between British officials and the Iroquois, who claimed sovereignty over the land although Shawnees and other Native Americans hunted there.

After the Stanwix treaty, Anglo-Americans began pouring into the Ohio River Valley. Violent incidents between settlers and Indians escalated into Dunmore's War in 1774. British diplomats managed to isolate the Shawnees during the conflict: the Iroquois and the Delawares stayed neutral, while the Shawnees faced the British colony of Virginia with only a few Mingo allies. Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, launched a two-prong invasion into the Ohio Country. Shawnee Chief Cornstalk attacked one wing but fought to a draw in the only major battle of the war, the Battle of Point Pleasant. In the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, Cornstalk and the Shawnee were compelled to recognize the Ohio River boundary established by the 1768 Stanwix treaty.

Many other Shawnee leaders refused to recognize this boundary, however, and when the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, several Shawnees advocated joining the war as British allies in an effort to drive the colonists back across the mountains. The Shawnees were divided: Cornstalk led those who wished to remain neutral, while war leaders such as Chief Blackfish and Blue Jacket fought as British allies.

In the Northwest Indian War between the United States and a confederation of Native American tribes, the Shawnee combined with the Miami into a great fighting force. After the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, most of the Shawnee bands signed the Treaty of Greenville a year later, in which large parts of their homeland were turned over to the United States.

Other Shawnee groups rejected this treaty and joined their brothers and sisters in Missouri and settled near Cape Girardeau. By 1800, only the Chillicothe and Mequachake tribes remained in Ohio while the Hathawekela, Kispokotha, and Piqua had migrated to Missouri.

From 1805, a minority of Shawnees joined the pan-tribal movement of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, which led to Tecumseh's War and his death at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813. This was the last attempt of the Shawnee nation to defend the Ohio country from American expansion.

cquote|"(Governor William Harrison), you have the liberty to return to your own country ... you wish to prevent the Indians from doing as we wish them, to unite and let them consider their lands as common property of the whole ... You never see an Indian endeavor to make the white people do this ... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make themall for the use of his children? How can we have confidence in the white people?"|20px|20px|- Tecumseh, 1810, "The Portable North American Indian Reader" cite book
last = Turner III
first = Frederick
title = The Portable North American Indian Reader
origdate = 1810
publisher = Penguin Book
chapter = Poetry and Oratory
page = 245-246
id = ISBN 0-14-015077-3

After the war

Several hundred Missouri Shawnee left the United States in 1815 together with some Delaware people and settled in Texas, which was at that time controlled by Spain. This tribe became known as the "Absentee Shawnee"; they were once again expelled in 1839 after Texas had gained its independence three years earlier. These people settled in Oklahoma, close to present-day Shawnee, Oklahoma, and were joined, in 1845, by Shawnee from Kansas that shared their traditionalist views and beliefs.

In 1817, the Ohio Shawnee signed the Treaty of Fort Meigs, ceding their remaining lands in exchange for three reservations in Wapaughkonetta, Hog Creek (near Lima) and Lewistown (together with the Seneca).

Missouri joined the Union in 1821 and, after the Treaty of St. Louis in 1825, the 1,400 Missouri Shawnees were forcibly relocated from Cape Girardeau to southeastern Kansas, close to the Neosho River.

During 1833, only the Black Bob's band of Shawnee resisted. They settled in northeastern Kansas near Olathe and along the Kansas (Kaw) River in Monticello near Gum Springs.

About 200 of the Ohio Shawnee followed the Prophet Tenskwatawa and joined their Kansas brothers and sisters in 1826, but the main body followed Black Hoof, who fought every effort to give up the Ohio homeland. In 1831, the Lewistown group of Seneca-Shawnee left for the Indian territory (present-day Oklahoma). After the death of Black Hoof, the remaining 400 Ohio Shawnee in Wapaughkonetta and Hog Creek surrendered their land and moved to the Shawnee Reserve in Kansas.

During the American Civil War, the Black Bob's band fled from Kansas and joined the "Absentee Shawnee" in Oklahoma to escape the war. After the Civil War, the Shawnee in Kansas were once again expelled and moved to northeastern Oklahoma—whereupon the Shawnee part of the former Lewistown group became known as the "Eastern Shawnee" and the former Kansas Shawnee became known as the "Loyal Shawnee" (some say this is because of their allegiance with the Union during the war, others say this is because they were the last group to leave their Ohio homelands). The latter group was regarded as part of the Cherokee Nation by the United States because they were also known as the "Cherokee Shawnee". The "Loyal" or "Cherokee" Shawnee received federal recognition, independent of the Cherokee Nation, in 2000 and are now known as the "Shawnee Tribe".

Today, the largest part of the Shawnee nation still resides in Oklahoma.


Before contact with Europeans, the Shawnee tribe consisted of a loose confederacy of five divisions which shared a common language and culture. These division names have been spelled in a variety of ways, but the phonetic spelling is added after each following the work of C. F. Voegelin

*"Chillicothe" (Chalahgawtha) [Chalaka, Chalakatha]
*"Hathawekela" Thawikila]
*"Kispokotha" (Kispoko) [kishpoko, kishpokotha]
*"Mequachake" (Mekoche, Machachee, Maguck, Mackachack, etc.)
*"Pekuwe" (Piqua, Pekowi,, Pekowitha]

Membership in a division was inherited from the father. Each division had a primary village where the chief of the division lived; this village was usually named after the division. By tradition, each Shawnee division had certain roles it performed on behalf of the entire tribe, although these customs were fading by the time they were recorded in writing by European-Americans and are now poorly understood.

This arrangement gradually changed because of the scattering of the Shawnee tribe from the 17th century through the 19th century. Today there are three federally recognized tribes in the United States:

*"The Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma", consisting mainly of "Hathawekela", "Kispokotha", and "Pekuwe", living in Oklahoma
*" The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma" mostly of the Mekoche Division living in Oklahoma
*"The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma formerly an official part of the Cherokee nation mostly of the Chaalakatha and Mekoche Divisions living in Oklahoma

There are presently about 14,000 Shawnee, most in Oklahoma. At least five bands of Shawnee (the Old Town Band, the Blue Creek Band, the East Of The River Shawnee, the Piqua Sept of Ohio Shawnee and the United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation ["Joint Resolution to recognize the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band" / as adopted by the [Ohio] Senate, 113th General Assembly, Regular Session, Am. Sub. H.J.R. No. 8, 1979-1980] [ [ American Indians in Ohio] , Ohio Memory: An Online Scrapbook of Ohio History. The Ohio Historical Society, retrieved September 30, 2007] [cite web |url= |title=Federalism and the State Recognition of Native American Tribes:A Survey of State-Recognized Tribes and State Recognition Processes Across the United States |accessdate=2007-09-30 |accessmonthday= |last=Koenig |first=Alexa |coauthors=Jonathan Stein |work=Santa Clara Law Review Volume 48 (forthcoming) |pages=Section 12. Ohio |quote=Ohio recognizes one state tribe, the United Remnant Band. . . . Ohio does not have a detailed scheme for regulating tribal-state relations.] [cite web |url= |title=Indian Gambling in Ohio:What are the Odds? |accessdate=2007-09-30 |last=Watson |first=Blake A. |work=Capital University Law Review 237 (2003) (excerpts) |quote=Ohio in any event does not officially recognize Indian tribes. Watson cites legal opinions that the resolution by the Ohio Legislature recognizing the United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation was ceremonial and did not grant legal status as a tribe.] reside in Ohio but are not federally recognized nor are they accepted by any of the three federally recognized Shawnee Tribes residing in Oklahoma.Fact|date=February 2008


In their frequent movements over the centuries, Shawnees established villages in numerous locations, from Illinois to New York and as far south as Georgia.

Famous Shawnee

* Tecumseh, the outstanding Shawnee leader, and his brother Tenskwatawa attempted to unite the Eastern tribes against the expansion of white settlement. This alliance was broken up by the Americans, leading to the Shawnee's expulsion to Oklahoma.
* Blue Jacket, also known as Weyapiersenwah, was an important predecessor to Tecumseh and a leader in the Northwest Indian War. Blue Jacket surrendered to General "Mad" Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and signed the Treaty of Greenville, ceding much of Ohio to the United States.
* Cornstalk, Blue Jacket's most prominent predecessor, led the Shawnee in Dunmore's War, and attempted to keep the Shawnee neutral in the American Revolutionary War.
* Black Hoof, also known as Catecahassa, was a respected Shawnee chief and one of Tecumseh's adversaries. He thought the Shawnee had to adapt culturally to the ways of the whites in order to prevent decimation of the tribe through warfare.
*Nas'Naga, novelist and poet.
*Black Bob
* Tall Eagle (Sat-Okh)

ee also

*Shawnee language



*Callender, Charles. "Shawnee" in "Northeast: Handbook of North American Indians", vol. 15, ed. Bruce Trigger. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978. ISBN 0-16-072300-0
*Clifton, James A. "Star Woman and Other Shawnee Tales." Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984. ISBN 0-8191-3712-X; ISBN 0-8191-3713-8 (pbk.)
*Edmunds, R. David. "The Shawnee Prophet". Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8032-1850-8.
*Edmunds, R. David. "Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership". Originally published 1984. 2nd edition, New York: Pearson Longman, 2006. ISBN 0-321-04371-5
*Edmunds, R. David. "Forgotten Allies: The Loyal Shawnees and the War of 1812" in David Curtis Skaggs and Larry L. Nelson, eds., "The Sixty Years' War for the Great Lakes, 1754–1814", pp. 337-51. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-87013-569-4.
*Howard, James H. "Shawnee!: The Ceremonialism of a Native Indian Tribe and its Cultural Background." Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8214-0417-2; ISBN 0-8214-0614-0 (pbk.)
*O'Donnell, James H. "Ohio's First Peoples". Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8214-1525-5 (paperback), ISBN 0-8214-1524-7 (hardcover).
*Sugden, John. "Tecumseh: A Life". New York: Holt, 1997. ISBN 0-8050-4138-9 (hardcover); ISBN 0-8050-6121-5 (1999 paperback).
*Sugden, John. "Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees". Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8032-4288-3.

External links

* [ Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma]
* [ Shawnee History]
* [ Shawnee Indian Mission]
* [ Shawnee Nation URB]
* [ "Shawnee Indian Tribe" at Access Genealogy]
* [ Treaty of Fort Meigs, 1817]
* [ Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma]
* [ The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma]
* [ BlueJacket]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shawnee — Shawnee, OH U.S. village in Ohio Population (2000): 608 Housing Units (2000): 235 Land area (2000): 1.992534 sq. miles (5.160638 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.004931 sq. miles (0.012770 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.997465 sq. miles (5.173408 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Shawnee —   [ ʃɔːniː], nordamerikanischer Indianerstamm aus der Algonkin Sprachfamilie. Nach Kämpfen (unter Häuptling Tecumseh) gegen die vordringenden weißen Siedler aus dem Tal des mittleren Ohio vertrieben, zunächst in Missouri und Kansas, später in… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Shawnee, KS — U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 47996 Housing Units (2000): 19086 Land area (2000): 41.744896 sq. miles (108.118779 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.799935 sq. miles (2.071823 sq. km) Total area (2000): 42.544831 sq. miles (110.190602 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Shawnee, OH — U.S. village in Ohio Population (2000): 608 Housing Units (2000): 235 Land area (2000): 1.992534 sq. miles (5.160638 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.004931 sq. miles (0.012770 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.997465 sq. miles (5.173408 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Shawnee, OK — U.S. city in Oklahoma Population (2000): 28692 Housing Units (2000): 12651 Land area (2000): 42.264733 sq. miles (109.465150 sq. km) Water area (2000): 2.404671 sq. miles (6.228070 sq. km) Total area (2000): 44.669404 sq. miles (115.693220 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Shawnee — [shô nē′, shô′nē] n. [back form. < Shawnese, taken as pl. < earlier Shawanoes, ult. < Shawnee shaawanooki, lit., people of the south ] 1. Shawnees or Shawnee a member of a North American Indian people living at various times in the East… …   English World dictionary

  • Shawnee — Algonquian people, probably originally from what is now southern Ohio, 1674, from Munsee sawanow, from Shawnee /ЕЎa:wanwa/, the people s self designation, lit. person of the south …   Etymology dictionary

  • Shawnee — Die Shawnee, oder auch Shawanos / Shawanoes, sind ein ursprünglich im Gebiet der heutigen US Bundesstaaten Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky und im westlichen Pennsylvania ansässiges Indianervolk Nordamerikas. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Geschichte 1.1… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Shawnee — Los shawnee pertenecen a una tribu amerindia que habla una de las lenguas algonquinas, también llamada sawanogi, cuyo nombre proviene de shawun (meridional) o bien de sewan (ácido). Se dividían en 13 clanes patriarcales y cinco subdivisiones:… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Shawnee — /shaw nee /, n., pl. Shawnees, (esp. collectively) Shawnee. 1. a member of an Algonquian speaking tribe formerly in the east central U.S., now in Oklahoma. 2. the Algonquian language of the Shawnee tribe. 3. a town in E Kansas. 29,653. 4. a city… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”