United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation

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Shawnee Nation, URB
Regions with significant populations
 United States Ohio
Native spirituality, Christianity[citation needed]

The United Remnant Band of the Shawnee Nation (also called the Shawnee Nation, URB) is a unrecognized tribe located in Ohio who claim descent from the historic Shawnee before that Native American people's removal to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Three federally recognized tribes of Shawnee are based in Oklahoma.[1]

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. Thirty-five groups in Ohio claim to have Shawnee descent, such as the Vinyard Indian Settlement, but "Ohio has no state recognized tribes nor does it have a recognition process," wrote Mary Annette Pember.[2] The organization is not recognized as an Indian tribe by either the federal government or a state.[3]


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.[4] This legislature passed a joint resolution in 1979-1980 recognizing the United Remnant Band as an Indian tribe descended from the historic Shawnee.[5] The URB acknowledges that it is not a federally recognized tribe but points to this resolution as evidence that it is a state recognized tribe.[6]

In 1989 the URB purchased a tract of land consisting of 20 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.[7] In 1996 the URB purchased the Zane Caverns between Zanesfield and Bellefontaine, Ohio and an associated museum.[8] In total they have bought 330 acres in four counties, both to aid their economic development and to create communal holdings for future generations.[8]

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).[9]


The Shawnee Nation, URB has an elected form of government, with council members and a chief.[3] Until his death in 2015, the chief was Jerry L. "Hawk" Pope, who led for more than 40 years.[8][10] 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.[citation needed]


The Shawnee Nation, URB says the organization 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."[6]

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 federal 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. Lacking federal recognition, the Shawnee United Remnant Band cannot participate in such development; they tried to negotiate with the state to set up a bingo center on land but are not allowed to by law.[9]

Economic development[edit]

In 1989 the organization purchased 110 acres near Urbana, Ohio. 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.[3]

The US Mint contracted with the United Remnant Band to sew pouches for the 2004 US Mint Lewis and Clark Coin but was informed by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board that "the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio does not meet the legal requirements to produce and market authentic 'Indian' products under the [[Indian Arts and Crafts Act." The US mint refunded money spent on the pouches.[3]


  1. ^ Smith, Pamela A. "Shawnee Tribe (Loyal Shawnee)". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Pember, Mary Annette (19 June 2015). "Black and Red and White Like Me: Natives Know Too Many Rachel Dolezals". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d DAVID LAZARUS, "Tribal question a matter of dollars", Los Angeles Times, 2 November 2007, accessed 11 January 2014
  4. ^ "American Indians in Ohio", Ohio Memory: An Online Scrapbook of Ohio History. The Ohio Historical Society, retrieved October 10, 2006
  5. ^ "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
  6. ^ a b Boice, Judith. "A Place Without Apology", Cultural Survival Quarterly, Issue 14.2, 30 April 1990, accessed 11 January 2014
  7. ^ Kevin Harter, "Ohio Home At Last For The Shawnees", Cox News Service in The Free Lance–Star, May 26, 1989, also available as "Split Shawnee Tribe Gains a 'Homeland'", Associated Press in Tulsa World, May 18, 1989.
  8. ^ a b c "Native Americans Buying Back Ohio Land"; The Ojibwe News, October 16, 1998
  9. ^ a b 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
  10. ^ Obituary for Jerry L. Pope, April 26, 1941 - May 13, 2015 (accessed 2015-10-02).

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