The following is a re-publication, in substantial part, of the history of the Piqua Shawnee Tribe of Alabama as originally published by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, except as edited and modified herein.
History of the Early Shawnee People in Alabama:
Most historians classify early Shawnee Tribes as a nomadic people because historians have found creditable evidence of Shawnees moving about in North America, settling in various places, and often retaining small family units for long periods of time. (Note: To the left is a depiction of Blue Jacket (or Weyapiersenwah). Blue Jacket (1743 -- 1810) was a war chief of the early Shawnee in the Ohio Valley who fought in defense of Shawnee land. He was an important predecessor to the famous Shawnee leader Tecumseh. There is no historical record of Blue Jacket having lived in Alabama.).
The State of Alabama has long been the home of many Shawnee people. In fact, some historians report that perhaps the Shawnees have inhabited Alabama for a longer period of time than any other geographic region. Some archaeologists set the date of 1685 as the first evidence of Shawnee settlement in Alabama. However, oral tradition recounts that the Shawnee have lived in Alabama much longer that. Ancient burial sites that used burial methods common to the Shawnee have been located in several sections of the State of Alabama. Early accounts can be confusing since what is now called Alabama was once a part of the Georgia Territory. Several early maps show Shawnee settlements in what is now the State of Alabama.
Early French and English maps show several Shawnee towns in what would be considered Upper Creek territory in Alabama. Some of the most notable were near modern Alabama towns. One village was near present day Talladega and was known in English as Shawnee Town. Another town was near Sylacauga. In 1750 the French took a census mentioning the Shawnee at Sylacauga as well as enumerating another Shawnee town called Cayomulgi (currently spelled Kyamulga Town) that was located nearby. Kiamulgatown was also listed in an 1832 census. A 1761 English census names Tallapoosa Town. This town was also named in a 1792 census by Marbury. There are French military records that mention a Shawnee presence at Wetumpka near Fort Toulouse. In most cases the traders called Alabama Indians "Creeks" because they lived on the numerous creeks and waterways in the area. Many of these "Creeks" were not of the same tribe or nation. Rather they went by a large number of names. Each group maintained their own unique heritage while living side by side with their neighbors.
Piqua Shawnee Tribe, Today:
Now, in the 21st century, there are many descendants who still call the State of Alabama home. Many of their family stories are varied. Some avoided the forced march of the Trail of Tears. Some families escaped into the Cumberland mountains, others hid
in swamps or less traveled places. A careful study of southeastern history that not all settlers agreed with President Andrew Jackson's removal policy. While many people did not escape the forced removal, some did. After the turmoil subsided some families returned. Many families chose to live in outlying rural areas where there was little government scrutiny and their neighbors were not too curious. While a lot was lost, family histories and ways were passed down.
It is out of that background that the Piqua Shawnee Tribe of Alabama members live and work to preserve their unique heritage. The tribe consists of clans that live in several states and Canada. While the majority of the Piqua Shawnee Tribe live in Alabama, with members also living in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Maryland and South Carolina. Because they are so widely dispersed, they have at least four tribal gathering each year in alternating geographic locations, thereby preventing any of their people from having to travel much further than the others.
If you would like to read more about the Shawnee people the following books may help:
1. Shawnee!!, James Howard, Ohio University Press,