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African-Native American Genealogy Forum

Re: Shawnee & Cherokee relationship/status

The Cherokee Nation adopted a band of Shawnee from Kansas known as "The Loyal Band of Shawnees" and previously known as the Black Bob Band of Shawnees. They came into the Cherokee Nation in 1869 and became full citizens of the Cherokee Nation with rights equal to a Cherokee Indian by blood. By the terms of the agreement the Shawnee tribe cease to exist as a sovereign and its members became Cherokees and its assets were liquidated and paid to the Cherokee treasury. This, of course, does not mean the tribe ceased to exist in a real sense. They continued to speak Shawnee, live as Shawnees and hold onto their ceremonial dances. Legally, they were no different than any other Cherokee citizen and are listed on the Dawes Commission Rolls as "Cherokees by blood." A few years ago the leadership of the Cherokee-Shawnees struck a deal with Chad Smith and the BIA to gain separate federal recognition as a sovereign tribe. The individual Shawnees who were Cherokee members were given a choice to remain as Cherokees or relinquish their CN membership and become exclusive members of the newly formed Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Most of the Shawnees dropped their CN membership and went exclusively Shawnee. Some, however, have remained. Any Shawnee listed on the Dawes Roll is eligible for CN membership, even after the split. The Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma uses various tribal rolls that pre-date Dawes and thus enroll more eligible people than had previously been eligible under Cherokee law. Unfortunately for the Shawnees who left, the agreement forged by Chad Smith and the Shawnee leadership has left that tribe impoverished and landless. With no land overwhich to govern, they have sovereignty that means very little.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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