Absentee Shawnee Tribe
Although the Absentee Shawnee are known to have lived in the eastern United States, it has been documented that they traveled from Canada to Florida, from the Mississippi River to the East Coast before being removed to the area they now occupy. Originally the Shawnee Indians lived in the northeastern part of the United States in areas now known as the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and neighboring states. Treaties in the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s reveal the Shawnee had a large population and land holdings in what is now the state of Ohio.
Encroaching colonial settlement persuaded the Shawnee living in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to negotiate the 1825 treaty with the U.S. government, which ceded their lands in Missouri for a reservation in Kansas. However, several years before this treaty was introduced, a group of Shawnees left Missouri to begin a journey south that would lead them to territory now known as the state of Texas, then under the control of Spain. This group of Shawnees became known as the Absentee Shawnees.
The term "Absentee Shawnees" stems from a provisional clause in an 1854 treaty regarding surplus lands in the Kansas Reservation which were set aside for the "absent" Shawnees. The outcome of the Texas-Mexico War (1846-1848) compelled many Absentee Shawnees to leave Texas and move into Indian Territory, although it is estimated that the Absentee Shawnees began to settle in Oklahoma around 1839.
In the late 1800s an Indian agent from the U.S. government brought soldiers from Fort Reno in western Oklahoma and forced the traditional band of Absentee Shawnees located along the Deep Fork River to leave. This band was taken south to the area known as Hog Creek and Little River where they were to remain. The group settling there is known as Big Jim Band. Another band stayed in Pottawatomie County near the town of Shawnee, Oklahoma, and is known as the White Turkey Band.