The Shawnee people once lived in their ancestral homelands of the Middle Ohio Valley before being 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 is Tecumseh. Although known as fierce fighters, the Shawnee formed alliances with other tribes that remain strong today.
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 also 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.
In Jefferson City, Missouri, bronze sculptures near the state capitol commemorate the Lewis and Clark Expedition, including a French-Canadian-Shawnee hunter named George Drouillard. At the age of 28, Drouillard was hired by Captain Meriwether Lewis for the United States’ official expedition into the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, and was considered the most skilled hunter among all the men of the party.
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.