The Shawnees are
an Eastern Woodlands tribe pushed west by white encroachment. In 1793, some of
the Shawnee Tribe's ancestors received a Spanish land grant at Cape Girardeau,
Missouri. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase brought this area under American control,
some Cape Girardeau Shawnees went west to Texas and Old Mexico and later moved
to the Canadian River in southern Oklahoma, becoming the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.
The 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs granted the Shawnees still in northwest
Ohio three reservations: Wapakoneta, Hog Creek, and Lewistown (see map below).
By 1824, about 800 Shawnees lived in Ohio and 1,383 lived in Missouri. In 1825,
Congress ratified a treaty with the Cape Girardeau Shawnees ceding their Missouri
lands for a 1.6 million-acre reservation in eastern Kansas. After the Indian Removal
Act of 1830, the Ohio Shawnees on the Wapakoneta and Hog Creek reservations signed
a treaty with the US giving them lands on the Kansas Reservation.
Spanish land grant
in 1793 at Cape Girardeau, Missouri
for a larger map)
Treaty of Fort
Meigs land grant in 1817
Wapakoneta, Hog Creek, and Lewistownin NW Ohio
for larger map)
The Lewistown Reservation Shawnees, together with their Seneca allies and neighbors,
signed a separate treaty with the federal government in 1831 and moved directly
to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The Lewistown Shawnees became the Eastern Shawnee
Tribe of Oklahoma, while their Seneca allies became the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of
In 1854, the US government decimated the Kansas Reservation to 160,000 acres.
This, coupled with the brutal abuses perpetrated against them by white settlers
during and after the Civil War, forced the Kansas Shawnees to relocate to Cherokee
Nation in northeastern Oklahoma. The 1854 Shawnee Reservation in Kansas was never
formally extinguished and some Shawnee families retain their Kansas allotments
The federal government caused the former Kansas Shawnees and the
Cherokees to enter into a formal agreement in 1869, whereby the Shawnees received
allotments and citizenship in Cherokee Nation.
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
Initial efforts begun in the 1980s to separate the Shawnee
Tribe from Cherokee Nation culminated when Congress enacted Public Law 106-568,
the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, which restored the Shawnee Tribe to its
position as a sovereign Indian nation.