The Shawnee Tribe are an Eastern Woodland tribe. Also known as the Loyal Shawnee, the Shawnee Indians are one of three related federally recognized tribes.
They originally came from Ohio and were the last of the Shawnee to leave their traditional homelands there. In the late 18th century, European-American encroachment crowded Shawnee lands in the East, and one band migrated to Missouri — eventually becoming the Absentee Shawnee.
Three reservations were granted to the Shawnee in Ohio by the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs: Wapakoneta, Lewistown, and Hog Creek. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830 passed, another Shawnee band relocated to Indian Territory in the July 1831. The final band, who would become the Shawnee Tribe, relocated to Kansas in August 1831. Their Kansas lands were drastically reduced in 1854 and broken up into individual allotments in 1858.
During the Civil War many of the Shawnee Tribe fought for the Union, which inspired the name, “Loyal Shawnee.” Instead of receiving compensation or honors for their service, they returned to their Kansas lands, only to find much of it taken over by non-Indian homesteaders. Settlers were granted 130,000 acres (530 km2) of Shawnee land, while 70,000 acres (280 km2) remained to for the tribe, of which 20,000 acres (81 km2) were granted to the Absentee Shawnee.
In 1861 Kansas became a state, and the non-Indian people of Kansas demanded that all Indian tribes must be removed from the state. The Loyal Shawnee made an agreement with the Cherokee Nation in 1869, allowing 722 to gain citizenship within the Cherokee tribe and receive allotments of Cherokee land. They predominantly settled in what is now Craig and Rogers County, Oklahoma. They became known as the “Cherokee Shawnee,” primarily settling in the areas of Bird Creek (now known as Sperry); Hudson Creek (now known as Fairland); and White Oak. The Shawnee Reservation in Kansas was never legally dissolved and some Shawnee families still hold their allotment lands in Kansas.
Beginning in the 1980s, the Shawnee Tribe began an effort to regain their own tribal status, independent of the Cherokee Nation. Congress passed Public Law 106-568, the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, and the Shawnee Tribe was able to organize as their own autonomous, federally recognized tribe.