Shawnee Tribe

The Middle Ohio Valley was once the ancestral homeland of the Shawnee people before the tribe was pushed east into present day Oklahoma. Swift travelers and prolific traders, Shawnee were kind friends to many, and equally fierce foes to others. One of the most renowned warriors and leaders among the Shawnee Indians was Tecumseh, born on the Scioto River in Ohio.

The Shawnee were one of the first tribes that Lewis and Clark encountered during their expedition, as the majestic Ohio River flowed through the heart of their homeland. At the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers the captains encountered “a great many” Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The party also explored Apple Creek, the largest stream on the Missouri side above the Ohio River, and Lewis noted in his journals a large village of Shawnee.

In addition to these encounters, a French-Canadian-Shawnee hunter named George Drouillard also accompanied the Lewis and Clark party. At the age of twenty eight, Drouillard was considered the most skilled hunter among all the men of the party. Drouillard’s language skills were also critical in communicating to numerous tribes during the expedition. In Jefferson City, Missouri, bronze sculptures near the state capitol commemorate the Lewis and Clark Expedition and include George Drouillard.

The present-day home of Shawnee tribal headquarters features wide-open expanses and stunning scenery. Native grasses sway in the breeze as bison herds roam, striking figures with thick brown fur contrasting against the deep blue Oklahoma sky. This land is home to white-tailed deer, bobcats, beavers, and other wildlife, offering exceptional opportunities for photographers.

There are three federally recognized Shawnee tribes: the Eastern Shawnee on the Oklahoma-Missouri border near Wyandotte, Oklahoma; the Absentee Shawnee near Shawnee, Oklahoma; and the Shawnee Tribe in Miami, Oklahoma.

Today’s Shawnee are active in a healthy and inclusive community history dialog, efforts to reawaken the language, and a burgeoning Shawnee arts renaissance. The Shawnee still practice many traditional lifeways and tell their stories in the Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center. The Center is a hub for students, educators, artists, citizens, and visitors who wish to explore and share Shawnee culture.

Contact Information

Marnie Leist
Reservations and Information:
(918) 544-6722

Address:
Miami, Oklahoma 74354, United States

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Location

Other Information

  • Hours Open

    NOTICE: We are temporary closed to the public at least through July 31. We are available by email and by appointment. Niyawe.
  • Seasons Open

    Temporary closed
  • Eco Friendly Notes

    In 1992, Congress passed the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act (42 U.S.C. 4368b) which authorizes EPA to provide General Assistance Program (GAP) grants to federally-recognized tribes and tribal consortia for planning, developing, and establishing environmental protection programs in Indian country, as well as for developing and implementing solid and hazardous waste programs on tribal lands. The goal of this program is to assist tribes in developing the capacity to manage their own environmental protection programs, and to develop and implement solid and hazardous waste programs in accordance with individual tribal needs and applicable federal laws and regulations. The Shawnee Tribe Environment and Natural Resources Department was established in 2002 with the award of its first GAP grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently Rosanna Dobbs is the Department’s Director. Over the past 12 years the tribe has focused on environmental education through numerous outreach projects. The mission of the department is to understand, protect, manage, and restore the natural environment of the Tribe and its members, with an abiding respect for the Shawnee traditional culture. The department is currently in the beginning stages of developing two new programs; a comprehensive Indoor Air Quality program that will eventually aid staff and tribal members in addressing potential indoor air quality issues within their homes. As well as an extensive Global Information and Positioning System (GIS/GPS), which will greatly assist all tribal departments and Tribal Leaders in the decision making process.