The Shawnee Tribe is an Algonquian-speaking people, who originally occupied lands in southern Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
The Shawnee are an Algonquian-speaking indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands. In the 17th century, they lived in Pennsylvania and in the 18th century, they were in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, with some bands in Kentucky and Alabama.
The Shawnees settled in and around White Oak, Bird Creek (Sperry), and Hudson Creek (Fairland), maintaining separate communities and separate cultural identities. Known as the Cherokee Shawnees, they would also later be called the Loyal Shawnees.
The word Shawnee comes from the Algonquian word ‘shawun’ which means southerner. Other interpretations of the word suggest it might mean ” those who have silver “. The Iroquois called them the Ontoagannha, which meant People of Unintelligible Speech according to Allan Eckert in his book “That Dark and Bloody River.”
Today, the Shawnee are comprised of three federally recognized American Indian tribes—the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, located near Shawnee, Oklahoma; Eastern Shawnee Tribe, located near Wyandotte, Oklahoma; and the Shawnee Tribe, located in Miami, Oklahoma.
The Shawnee Tribe is a federally recognized sovereign nation with about 3,200 tribal citizens as of 2020. Shawnee citizens reside not only in Oklahoma, but also live and work throughout the world.
The “Golden Rule” of the Shawnees was: ” Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own.
The Shawnee people lived by their own tribal rules and ignored all outside influences. They were a mainly a peaceful people who tended to avoid confrontation unless threatened. They had a strong leader called Tecumseh, who even today holds influence with the Shawnee people.
Beginning in about 1630, the Iroquois Confederacy started to raid the tribes of the Ohio Valley and pushed many of the tribes westward. The Shawnee broke into numerous bands and scattered in all directions to South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia.
Sitting Bull is one of the most well-known American Indian chiefs for having led the most famous battle between Native and North Americans, the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876.
The tools used by the Shawnee included spears, tomahawks, and bows and arrows. Shawnee arts and crafts included wood carving, pottery, and beadwork, which they are well-known for. Famous Shawnee include Yvonne Chouteau, a prima ballerina, and Ruthe Blalock Jones, an artist.
The Shawnee were farming people. Shawnee women planted and harvested corn and squash. Shawnee men hunted in the forest for deer, turkeys, and small animals and went fishing in the rivers and lakes. Shawnee Indian food included soup, cornbread, and stews.
Government. The headquarters of the Shawnee Tribe is Miami, Oklahoma. Currently, there are about 10,000 enrolled tribal members, with 1,070 of them living within the state of Oklahoma. Ben Barnes is the current elected Chief.
The Comanches, known as the “Lords of the Plains”, were regarded as perhaps the most dangerous Indians Tribes in the frontier era. One of the most compelling stories of the Wild West is the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah’s mother, who was kidnapped at age 9 by Comanches and assimilated into the tribe.
Shawnee people first actually met European explorers and trappers about 1614 AD. That’s when white traders first began to move beyond the Atlantic coast further inland.