Shawnee Tribe

Shawnee Native American Indian

The Shawnee Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Shawnee tribe were a nomadic tribe of hunters and farmers who migrated across many areas in the Northeast and Southeast. Many of the Shawnee adopted European style clothes and favored cloth turbans or bandana style head wear. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Shawnee tribe included Chief Cornstalk, Tecumseh (1768 – 1813) and Chief Blue Jacket (c1743 - c1810).

Where did the Shawnee tribe live?
The Shawnee tribe originated in the Tennessee region around the Cumberland River but they migrated to many other parts of America. The Shawnee Home Tribal Territories were Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Shawnee tribe adopted the lifestyles that were best suited to the climate, geography and natural resources of the different regions that they lived in. Due to the semi-nomadic life of the Shawnee they came into contact with the tribes of various Native Indian cultures. The Shawnee tribal groups included the Northeast and Southeast Native Indian and even the Plains cultures. Following the American Civil War, many Shawnee in Kansas were blended into the Cherokee Nation and were known as Cherokee Shawnee.

Map showing the Tennessee homelands
of the Shawnee Tribe

What did the Shawnee tribe live in?
Many of the nomadic Shawnee tribe lived in Wigwams, aka wetus or wikkums, which are also known as birchbark houses. This type of temporary shelter was used by Algonquian speaking Native Indian tribes who lived in the woodland regions.

Shawnee tribe - Wigwams
Wigwams, or wetus, are small cone-shaped houses with an arched roof made of wooden frames that are covered with woven mats and sheets of birchbark which are held in place by ropes or strips of wood. Some Shawnee wigwams were covered with buffalo hides if this was a major resource in the area Wigwams were usually about 8-10 feet tall and 10 - 15 feet wide at the base.

What language did the Shawnee tribe speak?
The Shawnee tribe spoke in the Algonquian language.

What did the Shawnee tribe eat?
The food that the Shawnee tribe ate depended on the resources that were available to them in the area they lived in

  • The food of the Shawnee people who inhabited the Great Plains region was predominantly buffalo but also they also hunted deer, elk, bear and wild turkey. Their diet was supplemented with roots and wild fruit and vegetables
  • The food of the Shawnee Woodland people were fish and small game including squirrel, deer, raccoon, bear and beaver. Corn (maize), pumpkin, squash and beans were also available

  • The food of the people who inhabited the Southeast included meat from animals such as rabbits, wild hogs, turkeys, eagles, opossums, raccoons and deer. Many farmed crops of corn (maize), beans, dried fruit, pumpkins and nuts

What weapons did the Shawnee use?
The weapons used by the Shawnee tribe included bows and arrows, a variety of different clubs, hatchet axes, spears, lances and knives. The rifle was added to their weapons with the advent of the white settlers.

What clothes did the Shawnee tribe wear?
The clothes worn by the Shawnee tribe were dictated by the climate. In warm climates they wore breechcloths in the summer and in cold climates they wore fringed tunics or shirts and leggings. Warm robes or cloaks were also worn to protect against the cold and the rain. The Shawnee tribe also adopted the types of clothes worn by the white settlers and that were available through trade. Shawnee men wore cloth shirts made of cotton or calico, and European style trousers or pants. Their jackets were often in the style of frock coats. Cloth turbans or a type of bandana were a popular form of headwear. Their turbans were made of a woolen shawl, sometimes covered with a piece of calico or even silk. The turbans were occasionally encircled by a band of metal (tin or siver) and adorned by feathers.

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Shawnee tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Shawnee tribe included Chief Cornstalk, Tecumseh (1768 – 1813) and Chief Chief Blue Jacket (c1743 - c1810).

Shawnee History Timeline: What happened to the Shawnee tribe?
The history of the Shawnee people dates back to the ancient Adena culture. The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks and battles fought by the Nation. The Shawnee timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

Shawnee History Timeline

  • 1000: Woodland Period including the Adena and Hopewell cultures established along rivers in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States which included trade exchange systems

  • 1677: French trader Claude-Charles Le Roy Bacqueville de la Potherie made the first white contact and established good relations with the tribe

  • 1670's: The Shawnee trade extensively with the French

  • 1689: The French and Indian Wars (1689-1763) erupted between France and Great Britain and their respective Indian allies. The Shawnee tribe, led by Chief Cornstalk, sided with the French

  • 1763: Shawnees joined the Ottawa and other tribes in Pontiac's Rebellion against the British

  • 1778: Daniel Boone was captured by the tribe and warned to leave "Kentucky", he managed to escape

  • 1774: The tribe were defeated in Lord Dunmore's War along the Ohio River

  • 1774: The Americans defeated the Shawnee in the Battle of Point Pleasant (October 6, 1774) and Chief Beanstalk was killed. Blue Jacket emerged as a strong Shawnee leader

  • 1775: The American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783). The Shawnees fought with the British against the American forces

  • 1783: The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolutionary War the British abandoned their native allies and ceded the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States (the Northwest Territory)

  • 1782: The Shawnee joined by the the Western Confederacy of tribes including the Delaware, Wyandot, Miami, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Mingo. Their objective was to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Indian lands and the United States and to remove settlers from Kentucky and Ohio

  • 1785: The Northwest Indian War (1785–1795) aka as Little Turtle's war erupted

  • 1790: "Harmar's defeat" - General Josiah Harmar was defeated in his attempts to subdue Native Indians in the Northwest Territory

  • 1791: Battle of the Wabash on November 4, 1791. American Indians were led by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket won a major Native Indian victory against Americans led by General Arthur St. Clair.

  • 1794: Battle of Fallen Timbers on August 20, 1794. Major General Anthony Wayne defeated Blue Jacket and the Native Indians

  • 1795: The Treaty of Greenville was signed on August 3, 1795 following the Battle of Fallen Timbers in which the Native Indians were forced to cede much of present-day Ohio to the United States

  • 1795: The Treaty of Greenville was made on August 3, 1795 that ended the Northwest Indian War

  • 1805: The Treaty of Fort Industry was signed on July 4, 1805 in which Blue Jacket and Tecumseh relinquished even more of Ohio

  • 1810: The Death of Blue Jacket. Chief Tecumseh continued the Shawnee fight during Tecumseh's War in a final attempt to reclaim Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country.

  • 1811: Tecumseh's War (1811–1813): The Battle of Tippecanoe (1811), the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the War of 1812 and the Battle of the Thames in which Tecumseh was killed

  • 1815: Shawnee are moved into Arkansas and in 1820 moved to Texas

  • 1830: The Indian Removal Act was passed calling for the relocation of all tribes to “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi River.

  • 1831: August 8, Treaty at Wapaghkonnetta and Hog creek in Ohio. Land ceded and removed to land west of Missouri

  • 1832: The Treaty of 1832 called for the removal of all Shawnee to the west

  • 1832: Wapakoneta Shawnee leave Ohio and removed west of the Missouri River, into Kansas

  • 1833: Hog Creek Shawnee removed to Kansas

  • 1861-65: supported the Union during the Civil War
    1867: Shawnee located on three reservations in Indian Territory. The Absentee Shawnee from Texas settled with the Potawatomi, the Kansas Shawnee moved to the Cherokee reservation. Other tribe members settled in Ottawa County, Oklahoma

The Story of Shawnee
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and the
Story of Tecumseh and the Wars with the Western Indians.

Native American Indian Tribes
Native Indian Tribes Index

ⓒ 2017 Siteseen Limited

First Published

Cookies Policy


Updated 2018-01-01

Publisher Siteseen Limited

Privacy Statement