The Shawness are an Eastern Woodlands Tribe pushed west by white encroachment. They share a linguistic and historic background with the Absentee Shawnee. In 1793 some of the Shawnee Tribe's ancestors received a Spanish land grant at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase brought this area under American control, some Cape Girardeau Shawnees went west to Texas and Old Mexico and later moved to the Canadian River in southern Oklahoma, becoming the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.
The 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs granted the Shawnees still in northwestern Ohio three reservations. By 1824 about 800 Shawnees lived in Ohio and 1,383 lived in Missouri. In 1825 Congress ratified a treaty with the Cape Girardeau Shawnees ceding their Missouri lands for a 1.6-million-acre reservation in eastern Kansas. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Ohio Shawnees on the Wapakoneta and Hog Creek reservations signed a treaty with the U.S. giving them lands on the Kansas Reservation. The Lewistown Reservation Shawnees, together with their Seneca allies and neighbors, signed a separate treaty with the federal government in 1831 and moved directly to Indian Territory. The Lewistown Shawnees became the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
In 1854 the U.S. government decimated the Kansas Reservation to 160,000 acres. This, coupled with the brutal abuses perpetrated against them by white settlers during and after the Civil War, forced the Kansas Shawnees to relocate to Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma. The 1854 Shawnee Reservation in Kansas was never formally extinguished and some Shawnee families retain their Kansas allotments today. The federal government caused the former Kansas Shawnees and Cherokees to enter into a formal agreement in 1869, whereby the Shawnees received allotments and citizenship in Cherokee Nation.
The Shawnees settled in and around White Oak, Bird Creek (Sperry) and Hudson Creek (Fairland), in Oklahoma, maintaining separate communities and separate cultural identities. Known as the Cherokee Shawnees, they would also later be called the Loyal Shawnees. Initial efforts began in the 1980s to separate the Shawnee Tribe from Cherokee Nation culminated when Congress enacted Public Law 106-568, the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, which restored the Shawnee Tribe to its position as a sovereign Indian nation. Today the Shawnee continue their traditional ceremonies such as the Bread Dance, Green Corn Dance and Buffalo Dance on an annual basis.