Shawnee Nation Case Study

How did many members of the Shawnee Nation, who previously lived in what is now Ohio, end up living in Oklahoma? These sources allow you to further investigate this story of American Indian removal.

The U.S. government forced the Shawnee Nation to sign a removal treaty in 1831. Soon after the death of one of their leaders, Catahecassa, the government wasted no time forcing the Shawnee Nation to sign a removal treaty in 1831.

Be the Political Analyst

Why was the 1831 Treaty with the Shawnee made?

  1. When was this treaty made with the Shawnee Nation?
  2. Look for the words “perfect assent.” Given what you have learned about the Shawnee Nation’s efforts to keep their lands, do you think “perfect assent” truthfully reflects the Shawnee Nation’s willingness to give up their homelands? Why do you think those words are used?
  3. In Article 1, what were the Shawnee people of Wapakoneta being told to give up in this treaty?
  4. Locate this excerpt from Article 1: “will give back to the United States the lands the Shawnee were given in a treaty…on September 29, 1817.” What does this statement tell you about the land the Shawnee Nation was being asked to give up?
  5. Challenge Question
  6. What can you conclude about the dates 1830 and 1817 mentioned in the treaty?
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Shawnee treaty

This treaty laid out the terms of their removal. There were many details to be worked out first. For example, the Shawnee Nation refused to be removed by boat as other nations had. They wanted to keep the horses they owned and use them in their new land.


Treaty with the Shawnee, 1831. Courtesy National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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Whereas the President of the United States under the authority of the Act of Congress, approved May 28, 1830, has appointed a special commissioner to confer with the different Indian tribes residing within the constitutional limits of the State of Ohio, and to offer for their acceptance the provisions of the before recited act:—And whereas the tribe or band of Shawnee Indians residing at Wapakoneta and on Hog Creek in the said State, have expressed their perfect assent to the conditions of the said act, and their willingness and anxiety to remove west of the Mississippi river, in order to obtain a more permanent and advantageous home for themselves and their posterity. Therefore, in order to carry into effect the aforesaid objects, the following articles of Convention have been agreed upon by the aforesaid contracting parties, which, when ratified by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, shall be mutually binding upon the United States and the said Shawnee Indians.

Article 1

The tribe or band of Shawnee Indians residing at Wapaghkonnetta and on Hog Creek in the State of Ohio, in consideration of the stipulations herein made, on the part of the United States, do for ever cede, release and quit claim to the United States the lands granted to them by patent in fee simple by the sixth section of the treaty made at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami river of Lake Erie on the 29th day of September in the year of our Lord 1817, containing one hundred and twenty-five sections or square miles, and granted in two reservations and described in the said sixth section of the aforesaid treaty as follows:—“A tract of land ten miles square…”

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The President of the United States, with the power given to him by an Act (law) of Congress, on May 28, 1830, has chosen a special government official who will meet with the Indian tribes who live within the State of Ohio. This government official will ask these Indian tribes to agree to the parts of the Act (the 1830 law). The tribe of Shawnee Indians who live in the town of Wapakoneta and on Hog Creek in Ohio, have completely agreed to the parts of the Act (the 1830 law). The tribe of Shawnee Indians agree that they are ready to move from Ohio to a place west of the Mississippi river. Moving to this new place will give the Shawnee Indians a more permanent home and a better home for themselves and for their children, in the future. Therefore, the United States government official and the Shawnee Indian tribes have made the following agreement. After the President of the United States and the United States Senate approve this agreement, then the United States government and the Shawnee Indians must do everything that is listed in the agreement.

Article 1

The tribe of Shawnee Indians who live in Wapaghkonnetta and on Hog Creek in Ohio will give back to the United States the lands the Shawnee were given in a treaty they made with the United States government on September 29, 1817. This 1817 treaty was made near the Rapids of the Miami river of Lake Erie. In the 1817 treaty, the United States government had given the Shawnee Indians 125 square miles of land…

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