Skip Navigation

Eastern Shawnee

Eastern Shawnee Tribe

By Wendy Weitzel

The Shawnee once lived throughout the region east of the Mississippi River. They were a wide-ranging, highly-mobile nomadic people.

By the early 19th century, they had been confined to northeastern Ohio.

The encroachment of white settlers crowded Shawnee lands further, causing one band to relocate to Missouri, later to be known as the Absentee Shawnee.

Around 1813 the progenitor group of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe came into being. This group was known as the Lewistown Band of Shawnee, after the Band’s leader Qua-ta-wa-pea (or Colonel Lewis as the Americans called him). The Lewistown Band of Shawnee was granted a reserve is western Ohio in 1817.

Their reservation was one of three in Ohio granted to the Shawnee remaining in Ohio by the Treaty of Fort Meigs.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was passed and declared illegal shortly afterwards. Nevertheless, 1831 brought the Lewistown Treaty, which exchanged Lewistown lands in Ohio for a reservation in Indian Territory and forcibly removed the Lewistown band from Ohio. Exactly when the Eastern Shawnee Tribe became formally organized is unclear (happening sometime after May, 1937).

The effects of this process were detrimental.

According to Chief Glenna Wallace in a piece she wrote in 2010, Eastern Shawnee tribal membership dropped to just 69 in the 1870s.

Today, the Eastern Shawnee have about 3,000 tribal citizens and are headquartered in Wyandotte.

Wendy Weitzel is a reporter with Gaylord News, a reporting project of the University of Oklahoman Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.