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What Research About Tribes Can Teach You

Meet Alabama’s Piqua Shawnee Tribe

With modernization, most tribes have lost their history and culture and adopted the so called modernization. However, for the Piqua Shawnee tribe, they have tried to hold on to their culture as long as possible. In 1984, the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission was created by the Alabama State Legislature through the Davis-Strong Act to effectively and fairly manage and comprehend the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Indian People 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.

The Piqua Shawnee Tribe Migration Patterns

The Shawnee people are widely recognized as nomadic. Historians have found a lot of compelling evidence of the Shawnee people’s migration patterns. The Shawnee moved to North America and settled in different parts of the region.

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 that is disputed by the oral traditions that reveal that the Shawnee have been in the region 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 currently referred to as Talladega. Another of their town was near Sylacauga. Some evidence from French Military also indicates the presence of the Shawnee tribe in Wetumpka town near Fort Toulouse.

Most Alabama traders called Alabama Indians “Creeks”. This is majorly because they inhabited the several creeks and waterways around the region. However, the “Creeks” were not of a single tribe or nation. They went by a variety of names and each group retained their diverse heritage while living alongside their neighbors.

The Piqua Shawnee People Today

In the current 21st Century, many Shawnee people 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.

When the uncertainties that followed Jackson’s removal policy subsided, a few of the Indians decided to return back and settled around the outlying areas that had small government scrutiny. In as much as a lot was lost during the removal, family histories were passed down generations and it’s through that that the Piqua Shawnee work and live to preserve their traditions.

Culture and Traditions.

The Shawnee people are governed by a Principal Chief is assisted 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 positions like council secretary and council treasurer are arrived at via elections.

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