Ohio Native Americans-Shawnee Indians. Tina Fogle ED 417 Winter 2007. Third Grade Objectives. Gain an understanding of the life and culture of Ohio’s historical Native Americans (focusing on the Shawnee people)
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Did you know the name "Ohio" is an Iroquoian Indian word? It came from the Seneca name for the Ohio River, Ohiyo, which means "it is beautiful."
The Indian tribes of the Ohio Valley were wiped out by smallpox and other European diseases before the Europeans had even met them, and Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes from neighboring regions moved into Ohio as European colonization forced them from their original homes.
Shawnee Indians are a large group of Native American Indians that originally occupied much of Southern Ohio, West Virginia, and Eastern Pennsylvania.
The men of the Shawnee were hunters and warriors. They would hunt in parties, or large groups, for days at a time. The women were responsible for all things domestic from the building and caring for lodging to planting and cooking. The women of the Shawnee Indians were said to be gifted healers, having a great deal of knowledge about medicinal herbs and plants.
The entire Shawnee tribe was governed by a principal chief and several clan chiefs. In the past, Shawnee leaders were always men, but today a Shawnee woman can be a leader too. Historically famous Shawnee leaders include Tecumseh, Bluejacket, and Tecumseh’s brother, Tenskwatawa.
The Shawnees were farming people. Shawnee women planted and harvested corn and squash. Shawnee men hunted for deer, turkeys, and small game and went fishing in the rivers. Shawnee Indian food included soup, cornbread, and stews.
Shawnee women wore skirts with leggings. Shawnee men wore breechclouts and leggings. Shirts were not necessary in the Shawnee culture, but both men and women often wore ponchos in cool weather. The Shawnees wore moccasins on their feet. As they migrated from place to place, the Shawnees adopted clothing styles from many other Indian tribes and from white settlers as well.
The Shawnees didn't wear long headdresses like the Sioux. Sometimes they wore a beaded headband with a feather or two in it. Shawnee people usually wore their hair long, though Shawnee warriors sometimes shaved their heads in the Mohawk style. Many Shawnees painted designs onto their faces, and some wore tribal tattoos.
The Shawnees made dugout canoes by hollowing out large trees. Over land, the Shawnee tribe used dogs as pack animals. (There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe.)
The Shawnee tribe is known for their beadwork, pottery, and wood carving. Like other eastern American Indians, the Shawnee also crafted wampum out of white and purple shell beads. Wampum beads were traded as a kind of currency, but they were more culturally important as an art material. The designs and pictures on wampum belts often told a story or represented a person's family.
Today, there are an estimated 14,000 Shawnee Indians living on reservations in four different groups – the Absentee Shawnee, the Eastern Shawnee, the Cherokee Shawnee, and the Shawnee Nation Remnant Band, a group not officially recognized by the federal government or the other three Shawnee groups. However, the Shawnee Nation Remnant Band was officially recognized by the state of Ohio in 1980.