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The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma are one of Oklahoma's three federally recognized Shawnee tribes of American Indians. Governed by a business committee, the Eastern Shawnee are headquartered at West Seneca in Ottawa County, where tribal revenue is generated by the Bordertown Bingo and Casino. There were 2,110 enrolled tribal members in July 2003.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 pressured the Shawnee of Ohio to relocate west of the Mississippi River. Near Lewiston, Ohio, a small group of Shawnee resided with some Seneca. In 1831 they, the Mixed Band of Seneca and Shawnee of Ohio, ceded their domain for land within the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.

Cherokee objections resulted in further negotiations. In December 1832 "the United Nation of Senecas and Shawnees" was granted a sixty-thousand-acre reservation north and east of the Cherokee in present Ottawa County, Oklahoma. In 1867 the U.S. government negotiated an additional treaty with the Seneca-Shawnee. Under that agreement the tribes sold portions of their land upon which the Peoria, Ottawa, Wyandot, Kaskaskia, Wea, and Piankashaw Indians were settled. The treaty also divided the Shawnee and Seneca into separate tribes and named the former "the Eastern Shawnee." The Eastern Shawnee lands were allotted in 1888.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma was organized under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936. Tribal leaders wrote a constitution that allowed members eighteen years of age or older to vote in Eastern Shawnee elections. Mainstreamed into the American way of life, few Eastern Shawnee observe such traditional Shawnee customs and ceremonies as the bread dance and the war dance. However, an Eastern Shawnee powwow is held at their tribal complex each September.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Charles Callender, "Shawnee," in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15, Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978). Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians: An Account of the Removal of the Indians from North of the Ohio River (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946). Muriel H. Wright, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951).

Pamela A. Smith

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