Friday, July 28, 2017
Shawnee - The Northwest Woodlands
Government The five Shawnee divisions were Chillikothe, Kispokotha, Piqua, Hathawekela, and Spitotha. They were linked through specific responsibilities, such as politics, ceremonialism, and war, and were associated both with specific territories and towns. Division membership was inherited patrilineally. This arrangement broke down with time.
Another type of tribal division was geographical in nature. These groups were fluid in number, size, and composition as the tribe shifted its territory. This system was eventually responsible for the three formal Shawnee divisions of the late nineteenth century.
Location The Shawnee migrated often, but their territory in the late seventeenth century may have ranged from the Illinois River east to the Delaware, Susquehannah, and Savannah Rivers. Some scholars place them on the Cumberland River at or before that time. Shawnee villages have been located within an enormous area, ranging from the present states of New York and Illinois south to South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Their aboriginal home may have been around the south shore of Lake Erie, and they lived in southern Ohio during the second half of the eighteenth century. Today, most Shawnees live in Oklahoma. There is also a significant community in and around Ohio.
Population There may have been as many as 50,000 or more Shawnee in the sixteenth century. Their population dropped to about 3,000 in 1650. In the mid-1990s, there were about 600 in Ohio and almost 12,000 in Oklahoma.
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