This page will provide links to information more than recite a bunch of statistics and will present some editorial notes on the
present state of affairs within the Shawnee Tribes and the Tribes of The Eastern Woodland Indians generally.
A Shawnee is born into the father's sept as the Shawnee were patrilenial as opposed to the matrilineal descent so common in other tribes. Each sept had a capitol village usually named after that sept hence the modern Chillicothe, Ohio. By tradition, each Shawnee division had certain duties it performed on behalf of the entire tribe. By the time Euro-Americans were recording such things, these societal duties were fading from memories. Because of the scattering of the Shawnee from the 17th Century through the 19th Century, the roles of the divisions changed. Each sept took on different duties forgetting the old. The next displacement would bring on other changes and so on and so forth, until the origional traditional duties are all but lost today.
This variation in pronunciations has led to speculation that at one time the Shawnee were five separate tribes that came together in one of the earliest confederacies formed among the inhabitants of this land we now call America.
Within recorded history the Shawnee tribe has consisted of a loose confederacy of five divisions or septs which shared a common language and culture. The division names have been spelled in a variety of ways. Pronunciation varies depending on which division you belonged to. The five divisions and their many spellings are as follows.
These septs were further divided into thirteen clans that transcended sub-national divisions. The names of these clans were as follows:
M'-wa-wa'- Wolf Ma-gwa'- Loon
M'-kwa'- Bear We-wa'-see- Buzzard
M'-se'pa-se- Panther M'-ath-wa- Owl
Pa-la-wa'- Turkey Psake-the'- Deer
Sha-pa-ta' - Raccoon Na-ma-tha'- Turtle
Ma-na-to'- Snake Pe-sa-wa'- Horse
The name of the Pesawa or Horse clan was probably changed from something else after the arrival of the white man. Prior to that no living Indian had seen a horse, but all of the Indians were highly impressed by them. Your clan membership was based upon name relationship, ie. 'Running Anelope', 'Bull Elk', 'Morning Fawn', would all belong to the Deer Clan.
Today, there are several Tribes that have evolved from the 18th Century Shawnee. At their peak in the mid-18th Century the Shawnee numbered as many as 15,000. During the 18th & 19th Centuries, as whites pushed on the borders of Shawnee lands, bands that had fought more than they cared to, began migrating north, south and, of course west. As they were herded on to government reservations, they were recognized as seperate tribes. The present
Shawnee Tribe was actually lumped in with the Cherokee for a long while and not even classed as a separate tribe.
At present, there are three federally recognized Shawnee tribes in the United States, all of which are located in Oklahoma.
(Click on the Flag to go to information about that tribe and the White Script for the Official tribe website.)
As of 2008, there were less than 8,000 Shawnee enrolled with one of these three tribes, most living in Oklahoma.
There are a number of Tribes of Shawnee currently organized in the U.S.A., none of which are recognized by the Federal Government. Some have gained recognition by one or more states.
~The United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation - Recognized by Ohio as of 1980
The Blue Creek Band
~The East of the River Shawnee - a break-away group of the U.R.B.
~The Piqua Sept of Ohio Shawnee - Recognized by Kentucky in 1991 & Alabama in 2001. Currently the majority of Piquas live in Alabama, with members also in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Maryland, and South Carolina.
~Chickamauga Keetoowah Unami Wolf Band of Cherokee Delaware Shawnee.
~Lower Eastern Ohio Mekoce Shawnee.
~Ohio's southernmost border, where the Ohio River makes a "v" shape. Lawrence County is at the tip of the V, the southernmost county in Ohio. Platform is part of Rome township. Rome township is on the eastern border of Lawrence County line, along the Ohio. The Platform Remnant Band are the descendants of Shawnee that didn't get moved west during the forced removals of the 1830's.
There are many Shawnee living among the First Nations communities of Canada and even on the south side of the Mexican border. The move by some into Canada began very early on but spiked in the days after the War of 1812 and those that went to Mexico did so in the mid-19th Century.
A Personal Note****************************************** There is much squabbling among these groups as to who has rightful claim to the "Shawnee" name. The three tribes with federal recognition have settled their differences pretty much, but all three have differences with all the others and it seems as though none of the others can get along with anybody. I find this disheartening. The Shawnee as well as many other tribes are getting caught up in the federal government's "blood percentage" game. This game started soon after the "Removals" of the 1830's and continues to this day, only now the feds have got the tribes doing it for them.
In the old days, if a person chose to live with a tribe, showed alligiance to that tribe, showed love and compassion for tribal members, was adopteed into the tribe, even if his skin was as white as the driven snow or as blue-black as a moonless night, no thought would be given as to the percentage of "Blood" in his veins. As to that individuals motives for membership in the tribe, I think Tecumseh said it best. "I am Shawnee! I am a warrior! My forefathers were warriors. From them I took only my birth into this world. From my tribe I take nothing.
I am the maker of my own destiny!" - Tecumseh
If this was used as the only criteria for tribal membership, there would be no problem as far as I'm concerned.
I have only family stories to proclaim my lineage. I know I have Shawnee and Cherokee ancestors. I want no thing from either tribe. While I am secure in the knowledge of who I am, it would be nice to have both tribes recognize that I am one of them through both my father and mother, my grandfathers and grandmothers back to the creation of the tribes. My European families have never asked for proof of anything. When I traced my Scots heritage back to the progenitors of Clan Murray, the Duke of Atholl, the chief of Clan Murray, and one of the weathiest Lairds in Scotland, embraced me as a long lost cousin without any proof!!! ************************************************************ The Shawnee, until very recently, have been among the most conservative of tribes, clinging to the old ways with a vengence. As of this writing, I believe, the three federally recognized Shawnee tribes now operate "Casinos", at least one of those being a bingo and slots only facility.