THE SHAWNEE

 
 
 
 
This research paper summarizes the history, traditions

and culture of the central Appalachian Shawnee tribe of American Indians. Through a combination of circumstances, this itinerant but highly resilient tribe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries found itself directly in the path of the pressing wave of British/ American settlement of the Northwest Territory. The Shawnee assumed leadership of the defense of Indian society in the struggle that ensued under the leadership of their last great chief, Tecumseh, who was finally slain in battle in 1813. Because of their warrior traditions, competent leadership, spiritual elan and internal cohesion, the Shawnee gave a good account of themselves in this unequal struggle.

The Shawnee or "Southerners" was one of many tribes which inhabited the Eastern Woodlands of North America before the advent of the white man in the 17th century. The origins of

these tribes date back to the eastern and southern expansion of

indians of Mongoloid extraction across the Bering Straits land

bridge in prehistoric times, and after the ice age, more than

three thousand years ago, into the heavily forested regions south of the Great Lakes and on either side of the Appalachian chain. The Shawnee were part of the AlgonquianRitwarKutenas language group (Josephy, 1973, p. 17). Edmunds says that "the early history of the Shawnee . . . is shrouded in uncertainty. Ethnographers disagree over what area

     
 
 
 
    

 

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