United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation

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Shawnee Nation, URB
Total population
Enrolled members:
Regions with significant populations
 United States Ohio
English, formerly Algonquian Shawnee
Related ethnic groups
Miami people, Lenape people, Illinois, and other Algonquian peoples

The United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation (also called the Shawnee Nation, URB) is a band of Native Americans in Ohio who claim descent from the historic Shawnee before that people's removal to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Three federally recognized tribes of Shawnee, which constitute the majority of the population, are based in Oklahoma.

The Shawnee Nation, URB was recognized by the state of Ohio based on a 1979 resolution of the Ohio state legislature, but the legal status of that resolution has been disputed. In 1989 the band purchased 110 acres near Urbana, Ohio, becoming the first Native American group to own land in the state since Indian Removal in 1830. To generate revenue for welfare and development, they purchased the Zane Shawnee Caverns in 1996 and a museum. The latter is now named for and devoted to George Drouillard, a Shawnee interpreter and hunter who was a member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. The Shawnee URB is led by Chief Hawk Pope.[1]


Prior to 1831, the Shawnee were relocated, band by band, to Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and other parts of the American Plains west of the Mississippi River as a number of Shawnee chiefs surrendered independently to the United States. By the time chief Black Hoof died, historians claim only 400 Shawnee remained in Ohio. Most of these Ohio Shawnee left Wapaughkonetta (today, Wapakoneta) and Hog Creek (near present-day Lima, Ohio) for Kansas after the death of Black Hoof. However, the United Remnant Band claims that some Shawnee continued to live in scattered communities in Ohio after Black Hoof's death. The URB members say that Black Hoof never signed a treaty ceding the remaining Shawnee settlements in Ohio to the U.S. government, and they have claimed there are lands in Ohio still legally owned by the Shawnee nation.

In 1971, at a time of Indian activism across the United States, self-identified Shawnee in Ohio organized the United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation as a 501-C3 Non-Profit, in part to reclaim their ancestral lands. In the latter part of the decade, the band filed historic and genealogical documents with the state to support their claim of descent from the historical Shawnee. The Ohio General Assembly held hearings and heard testimony from numerous groups.[2] This legislature passed a joint resolution in 1979-1980 recognizing the United Remnant Band as an Indian tribe descended from the historic Shawnee.[3] The URB acknowledges that it is not a federally recognized tribe.[4]

In 1989 the URB purchased a tract of land consisting of 110 acres, three miles (6.4 km) south of Urbana, Ohio. This historic land purchase resulted in the Tribe's being the first Native American group to own land in Ohio since 1830. In 1996 the URB purchased the Zane Caverns between Zanesfield and Bellefontaine, Ohio and an associated museum.[5] In total they have bought 330 acres in four counties, both to aid their economic development and to create communal holdings for future generations.[5]

The 100-acre (0.40 km2) Camp Ground, Museum, Gift Shop, Concert Venue, Caverns and surrounding property were renamed as the Zane Shawnee Caverns and Southwind Park. They have enlarged the museum in Bellefontaine, renaming it as the George Drouillard Museum. It is devoted to the Shawnee-French man, a Métis who was interpreter and hunter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806).[6]

In the 21st century, the URB was one of several tribes hired by the US Mint, through the temporary Circle of Tribal Advisors, to produce items related to the celebration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. They crafted about 2,000 leather pouches to hold commemorative silver dollars; 50,000 were issued by the Mint.[1]


The Shawnee Nation, URB has an elected form of government, with council members and a chief. The current chief is Hawk Pope,[1] who has led for more than 25 years.[5] Geah (Crow Woman) has the position of Mother of the Nation. Both men and women may be elected to the inner council.

The band has maintained its clan kinship affiliations. Both clan mothers and chiefs have roles in the society.


The Shawnee Nation, URB requires people to trace their lineage and document at least one-eighth Shawnee ancestry (the equivalent of one great-grandparent), or one-sixteenth if the person is a child "of a provable person."[4]

Indian gaming[edit]

In 2003 the Ohio legislature debated authorizing video slots at racetracks in the state, a move that would establish Class III gaming. With the state having established that level of gaming, under the law federally recognized Native American tribes would be able to negotiate with the state to establish gaming casinos as well, although no federally recognized tribe held sovereign land in the state to use as a base for such a casino. There was much debate about whether the Shawnee United Remnant Band would be able to participate in such development; they tried to negotiate with the state to set up a bingo center on land they owned but did not want casino gambling.[6]

Federally recognized Shawnee tribes, particularly the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, were said to be trying to set up gaming casinos in Ohio.[6] The Eastern Shawnee Tribe has a casino on the border of Oklahoma and Missouri. By November 2007 its chief Glenna Wallace said that it had discussed potential sites in Ohio with some towns.[1]

In November 2007 Chief Hawk Pope of the Shawnee Nation, URB was told by a Los Angeles Times reporter that their status as a state-recognized tribe had been challenged over the crafting of the pouches for the bicentennial. The reporter said that the Ohio Attorney General held that the legislature's 1979 resolution was ceremonial and not official. Chief Hawk Pope said the tribe's understanding in 1979 and since was that the legislature intended it to be formal recognition. The chief said the tribe had always acknowledged that it had state rather than federal recognition, and that they had been recruited to participate in making items for the bicentennial. Under the 1990 Arts and Crafts Act, only members of tribes that are state recognized may identify as Native American for the sale of their goods.[1]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Dark Rain and James Alexander Thom wrote Warrior Woman (2003), a novel about Nonhelema, a historical Shawnee woman.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e DAVID LAZARUS, "Tribal question a matter of dollars", Los Angeles Times, 2 November 2007, accessed 11 January 2014
  2. ^ "American Indians in Ohio", Ohio Memory: An Online Scrapbook of Ohio History. The Ohio Historical Society, retrieved October 10, 2006
  3. ^ "Joint Resolution to recognize the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band" / as adopted by the [Ohio] Senate, 113th General Assembly, Regular Session, Am. Sub. H.J.R. No. 8, 1979-1980
  4. ^ a b Boice, Judith. "A Place Without Apology", Cultural Survival Quarterly, Issue 14.2, 30 April 1990, accessed 11 January 2014
  5. ^ a b c "Native Americans Buying Back Ohio Land"; The Ojibwe News, October 16, 1998
  6. ^ a b c Jon Craig, "Indian Gaming Interests Eye Ohio; Secrecy, Big Money Surround Land Deals, Plans", Columbus Dispatch, 1 June 2003, hosted at American Policy Roundtable, accessed 9 January 2014
  7. ^ Robert Shull, "Shades of Democracy: Dark Rain Thom Interview", March 2005, Shawnee Way, accessed 11 January 2014

External links[edit]