The History and Culture of the Piqua Shawnee Tribe
With modernity, most people have lost touch with their tribal backgrounds and traditions. But for the Piqua Shawnee tribe, they have held on to their civilizations for the longest time possible. In 1984, the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission was established by the Alabama State Legislature via the Davis-Strong Act to recognize and effectually and fairly deal with the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Indian Tribes in the State. Since the commission was launched, the Alabama State has so far officially recognized nine American Indian tribes for which the Piqua Shawnee Tribe is amongst them.
Migration Patterns and Settlement
The Shawnee people are largely recognized as nomadic people. Historians have revealed a lot of compelling evidence of the Shawnee people’s migration patterns. They moved to North America and settled in different places in Alabama while retaining small family structures.
Alabama has been home for the Shawnee people for a long period of time. Historians think that the Piqua Shawnee people have occupied Alabama for the longest period as compared to some other region. It is believed that the Shawnee people settled in Alabama in 1685. However this is disputed by the oral traditions that show that the Shawnee have been in the region for longer than that.
The Shawnee people have occupied several towns in the northern part of Alabama “Upper Creek” territory. According to ancient English and French maps, the Shawnee tribe had occupied notable areas in the present Alabama cities. One such town is the Shawnee Town, which is presently known as Talladega. Another of the city was close Sylacauga. Some evidence derived from the French Military also suggests the existence of the Shawnee tribe at Wetumpka city near Fort Toulouse.
Many Alabama traders called the Alabama Indians “Creeks”. This is because they mainly occupied the several creeks and waterways around the region. Nonetheless, the “Creeks” were not of one tribe or country. They went by a variety of names and each group retained their diverse heritage while living alongside their neighbors.
The Piqua Shawnee People of Today
In the current 21st Century, you will find lots of Shawnee people who still call Alabama home. However their family stories are very much diverse. Some of them avoided crossing the Trail of Tears during the Andrew Jackson’s removal policy. A number of the Indians escaped and settled at the Cumberland Mountains as well as other less known or travelled regions.
Following the chaos that followed Jackson’s elimination policy subsided; some of the Indians decided to return and settled in the outlying areas that had little government presence. Family histories were passed down throughout generations and they have ever since strived to preserve their customs.
Culture and Traditions.
The Shawnee people are regulated by a Principal Chief who is deputed by a second chief. Their tribal government is upheld by the Shawnee Tribal Council. The council is comprised of clan chiefs and clan mothers and functions through an advisory body, Council of Elders. All actions and deliberations of the Tribal Council are conducted consistent with the Clan Protocol.
All issues of this tribe are debated and introduced to the clans for consideration. It is the ultimate responsibility of the Council to willfully seek consensus on thorny issues from all parties in order to speak in one voice. Modern posts like council secretary and treasurer are arrived at via elections.