Meet Alabama’s 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 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 established, the Alabama State has so far officially identified nine American Indian tribes such as the Piqua Shawnee Tribe.
The Piqua Shawnee Tribe Migration Patterns
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 the region retaining small family units.
Alabama has been home to the Shawnee people for a long period of time. Historians believe that the Piqua Shawnee individuals have occupied Alabama longer than any other region. It’s believed that the Shawnee people settled in Alabama in the 1685. However, oral traditions reveal that the Shawnee have been in Alabama longer than that.
The Shawnee tribe has occupied several cities in the Northern parts of Alabama “Upper Creek” land. According to ancient English and French maps, the Shawnee tribe had occupied notable areas in the present Alabama cities. One such city is the Shawnee Town that is presently called Talladega. Another of their town was near Sylacauga. Some signs from French Military also signal the presence of the Shawnee tribe in Wetumpka town near Fort Toulouse.
Most Alabama traders called Alabama Indians “Creeks”. This is because they mainly occupied the several creeks and waterways around the region. Nevertheless, the “Creeks” weren’t of one tribe. They went by a number of titles and each group kept their diverse.
The Piqua Shawnee People Today
In the present 21st Century, there are many 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. Some of them escaped and settled in the Cumberland Mountains and other less travelled areas.
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. Family histories were passed down throughout generations and they have ever since strived to preserve their customs.
Culture and Traditions.
The Shawnee people are governed by a Principal Chief is assisted by a second chief. Their tribal government is controlled by the Shawnee Tribal Council. The council is comprised of clan chiefs and clan mothers and has an advisory body, the Council of Elders. All activities and deliberations of the Tribal Council are conducted in line with this Clan Protocol.
All issues of the tribe are debated and presented to the clans for consideration. It’s the ultimate responsibility of the Council to find consensus from all parties so as to avoid any grievances. Modern posts like council secretary and treasurer are arrived at via elections.