Sample Sociology Paper on Shawnee Tribe

Shawnee Tribe

The Shawnee tribe of one of the federally recognized Native American tribes in Oklahoma. This tribe is also called the Loyal Shawnee. The Shawnee tribe is located in Oklahoma, with the headquarters of the tribe in Miami City. The tribe has about 2,226 enrolled members with a majority of them living within Oklahoma state (Jennings, 2015). The tribe is allowed to operate as an autonomous people, and such is recognized by the united states government.

The tribe was forced to move westwards from the eastern woodlands by the encroachment of the European American settlers. This was in the 18th century, and a good number of the members of this tribe settled in Missouri after getting a land grant from the Spanish. The tribe has a reservation in Oklahoma, where the members continue to perpetuate their cultural norms. The decimation of the land owned by the tribe in 1854 in favor of the settlers made the Shawnee move in the territory of the Cherokee nation (Jennings, 2015). This made the two Indian nations live side by side for many decades without the government distinguishing their identities.

Efforts to have the Shawnees recognized as a tribe separate from the Cherokee were initiated in the 1980s, and was finalized in 2000 by the Shawnee Tribe Status Act 2000. This act restored the status of the Shawnee as a sovereign Indian nation. The requirement for membership in this tribe is to have at least ¼ Shawnee blood, with the proper documentation that attests to that. Before the coming of the Europeans, Shawnee tribe was led by chiefs. There were two kinds of chiefs, the peace chief and war chief (Ojibwa, 2015). The peace chief was concerned with maintaining domestic order, and the office could be inherited. The position of a war chief, however, had to be earned by participating in twelve raids into the enemy territory and leading four successful raids.

The present form of tribal government is different from that one of the past, having been influenced by the changing times. The Shawnee tribe in the present has a modern constitution that establishes a multi-branch form of government (Lakomäki, 2014). There is an executive branch that is led by the tribe chief, legislative branch consisting of a business committee that has six members and a Judicial branch. The executive and legislature are elected by the tribe citizens while the Judicial branch has its issues settled by the Court of Federal Records. It has four-year election cycles with no term limits.

The Shawnee Tribe allows women to hold governing positions in its government. The official language spoken by the Shawnee tribe is Algonquian and very much related to the one spoken by other Indian tribes. The Shawnee language is threatened, as many of the tribe’s children grow up communicating in English. This has had the effect of reducing the number of people that converse in the language (Lakomäki, 2014). The decline in the use of Shawnee language is exacerbated by the fact that it is no longer taught in Indian schools, as more of their children adopt Eurocentric lifestyles. The Shawnee tribe is among the many Indians tribes that seek to retain their autonomous cultures, but are faced with the challenge of confronting modernization. More and more of their children are not interested in preserving their native American identity unless it favors them in academic and professional life.

 

 

References

Jennings, M. (2015). The worlds the Shawnees made: Migration and violence in early America. The Journal of Southern History, 81(2), 432-433.

Lakomäki, S. (2014). “Our line”: The Shawnees, the united states, and competing borders on the great lakes “borderlands,” 1795-1832. Journal of the Early Republic, 34(4), 597-624.

Ojibwa, B. (2015). Shawnee Political Organization | Native American NetrootsNativeamericannetroots.net. Retrieved 16 December 2017, from http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1942