The Shawnee Indians of Ohio

The Shawnee Indians were a friendly and brave tribe. A male child born to a Shawnee was given a name within ten days. A female child was named within twelve days. The name was either bestowed by a parent or by some trusted friend of the family, called a “conferrer”. An “unsoma”, or social classification usually determined by the clan into which one was born or adopted, was a chief consideration when the child was named.

The Shawnee Indians were living in the Ohio Valley as early as the late 1600s. The Iroquois Indians were unwilling to share these rich hunting grounds and drove the Shawnees away. Some went to Illinois; others went to Pennsylvania, Maryland or Georgia. As the power of the Iroquois weakened, the Shawnee Indians moved back into Ohio from the south and the east. They settled in the lower Scioto River valley.

The Shawnees spoke one of the languages of the Algonquian Indians, and so they are related to the Delaware and Ottawa Indians.

The Shawnee Indians were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country in 1740. The French pushed the British out of Ohio and the Shawnees became allies of the French again until the British victory in the French & Indian War . As French trading posts turned into British forts, the Ohio Indians, including the Shawnees, fought the British and their colonists. Cornstalk led the Shawnees against British colonists during Lord Dunmore’s War in the early 1770s. During the American Revolution the Shawnees fought alongside the British against the colonists. The Shawnees believed that England would prevent the colonists from encroaching further upon the natives’ land. After the war the Indians continued to fight the Americans.

The Shawnees were fierce warriors. They were among the most feared and respected of Ohio’s Indians. Tecumseh was their most famous chief.

General Anthony Wayne defeated the Shawnees and other Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Shawnees surrendered most of their lands in Ohio with the signing of the Treaty of Greenville

Many of the Shawnees moved into the Indiana Territory Many of these natives, however, hoped to reclaim their Ohio lands. Chief among them was Tecumseh, who hoped to unite together all native tribes west of the Appalachian Mountains against the Americans. Due to the advanced technology of the whites and the Indians’ failure to put aside their traditional differences, Tecumseh’s Confederation failed. General William Henry Harrison defeated the Shawnees and their allies at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Other Shawnees, like Black Hoof assimilated to white customs, hoping that the whites would allow the natives to continue to live on the land if the Indians adopted white customs.

Between 1831 and 1833, the United States forced the Shawnees to give up their land claims in Ohio. The American government sent the natives to reservations in Oklahoma and Kansas.

The Shawnees divided themselves into different clans. The main chief of the Shawnees could only come from one clan. The name of this clan was Chillicothe .When a village was called Chillicothe, it meant that it was home to the principal chief-the “capitol city” of the Shawnees. Chillicothe was also the name of Ohio’s first state capitol, but the modern city is not the site of a former Shawnee town.

The most famous of the Shawnee Indian Tribe was Tecumseh. Tecumseh was born in 1768, probably at Old Piqua, along the Mad River in Ohio. He was a member of the Shawnee Indians and eventually became one of their greatest leaders. Tecumseh’s father died at the Battle of Point Pleasant during Lord Dunmore’s War . Fearing the encroaching white settlers, many Shawnees, including Tecumseh’s mother, moved westward first to Indiana, then Illinois, and finally to Missouri. Tecumseh only eleven years old at the time, remained in the Ohio Country and was raised by his eldest brother, Chiksika, and his sister, Tecumpease.

Chiksika trained Tecumseh to become a warrior. Tecumseh’s first military encounter occurred against an army led by George Rogers Clark into the Ohio Country in 1782. Tecumseh, panic-stricken, fled from the battlefield. Humiliated, he determined to never run again. Tecumseh quickly grew into a brave warrior and eventually became a Shawnee leader. He fought against the army of Arthur St. Clair in 1791. The Indians in the Northwest Territory emerged victorious, and Tecumseh became one of the most trusted leaders of the Shawnees.

Tecumseh died at one of the most important battles of the conflict, the Battle of the Thames in 1813. A combined English-Indian force met an American army led by William Henry Harrison. The British soldiers ran from the battlefield, leaving Tecumseh and his Indian followers to continue on their own. The Americans drove the natives from the field, but an American’s bullet felled the Indian leader. Tecumseh’s death signified the end of united Indian resistance against the Americans. Tecumseh’s dream of a united Indian front died with him.

Witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700’s. “Tecumseh!” has been labeled as one of the most mesmerizing dramas in the nation.

Life of the Shawnee surrounds you with a herd of galloping horses, live military cannon in action, and the most dazzling battle sequences offered on the American stage.

Over 2 million visitors have witnessed this great outdoor play, making it the most popular of its kind in the State of Ohio and the entire Mid-Western United States.

Monday – Thursday: Adult – $ 16.00, Child (10 & under) – $ 8.00
Friday & Saturday: Adult – $ 18.00, Child (10 & under) – $ 9.00
NOT recommended for children under the age of 6
due to violent content and loud battle scenes.
ALL SEATS ARE RESERVED. Advance payment required for ALL performances. All tickets will be held at the box office.
Making Reservations is easy. CONTACT THE BOX OFFICE after March 1, 2005at Toll Free (866) 775-0700 or Local (740) 775-0700 THE BOX OFFICE ACCEPTS VISA, MASTERCARD, DISCOVER, or AMERICAN EXPRESS or WRITE TO: TECUMSEH! ATTN: RESERVATIONS P.O. BOX 73 CHILLICOTHE, OH 45601-0073 Please include date of performance, number of adult/child tickets, contact name, address and phone number and payment in full with check or money order.

June 10 – September 3
Monday – Saturday
Performance begins at 8:00 PM

You can also enjoy an exciting backstage tour of the theatre complex as cast members serve as your tour guides! The stuntmen of TECUMSEH give a dazzling display of stage-combat and flintlock firing, then pitch headfirst from a twenty-one foot cliff, get up, and explain how they did it. Tours last approximately one hour and also include make-up demonstrations and detailed historical information on the drama and area.

TECUMSEH! Restaurant Terrace: Dine at the spacious, covered restaurant terrace, overlooking a vista of forests and mountains. The Terrace features a buffet of wholesome American food, no one will walk away hungry! Families enjoy our buffet from 4:30 PM until 7:30 PM (Monday – Saturday). The menu includes roasted chicken, baked ham, tossed salad, coleslaw, potato salad, applesauce, harvard beets, baked beans, creamy corn, glazed baby carrots, green beans, dinner rolls, coffee, lemonade, and iced tea. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. We gladly accept cash or check payments. $8.75 per Adult and $5.75 per Child (10 & under). Sandwiches, snacks and soft drinks are available at the concession stand from 4:00 PM through intermission.

There is a Free! Prehistoric Indian Mini-Museum as you stroll through the mini-museum enjoy the displays of prehistoric Indian artifacts from the Scioto Valley. This exhibit is offered to our patrons FREE of charge with the assistance of the Ohio Historical Society. The museum is open from 5:00 PM 7:45 PM, Monday through Saturday, during the TECUMSEH Season.

Tecumseh has been playing for Thirty- three years. Thirty-three years is a good stretch of time, especially when you consider a play that has been running this long. It rivals any Broadway production in terms of staying power and it proves that the American public can sustain its interest in a story, which it considers powerful and relevant.

So why has this outdoor epic remained so popular with Ohio audiences? It is spectacular for sure there are epic battle sequences, lots of horses and nearly 60 actors on the stage. But what’s the real attraction here? It may be that the drama strikes a cord with so many people today, based on its ability to tell the story of an individual who combined the attributes of strength and courage, wisdom and compassion, selflessness and altruism in a manner that justifiably exalted his image to an unparalleled greatness. To his own people he became and remains yet today a messiah figure that instilled in them an undying element of hope and fulfillment.

For a look at history a truly unique way go and see what all the excitement is about. The show is currently playing nightly, except Sundays at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, located a few miles outside Chillicothe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× 6 = twenty four