Shawnee (shôˌnēˈ) [key] or Shawano shôˈwənō, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). Their earliest known home was in the present state of Ohio. In the mid-17th cent. part of the tribe was settled in W South Carolina and part in N Tennessee. These two bodies, divided by the Cherokee, migrated constantly, from South Carolina to S New York, then to W Pennsylvania and into Ohio, where they finally united in the mid-18th cent. They then numbered some 1,500. After their reunion in Ohio the warlike Shawnee participated in almost every war of the Old Northwest (see Northwest Territory). By the Treaty of Greenville (1795) they were obliged to give up their lands in Ohio and move to Indiana. About 1800 the Shawnee Prophet (Tenskwatawa) arose. He and his followers, cooperating with Tecumseh, established themselves in a village at the mouth of the Tippecanoe River in Indiana. It was this village that William Henry Harrison destroyed in the battle of Tippecanoe. The Shawnee were thereafter moved to Missouri, to Kansas, and finally to Oklahoma. Today they live on reservations in Oklahoma and Missouri. In 1990 there were over 6,600 Shawnee in the United States.
See H. Harvey, History of the Shawnee Indians, 1681–1854 (1855, repr. 1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.