See the entry for "Shawnee Ritual" on the Culture menu for a detailed discussion of Shawnee Ritual (In Preparation).
As with other Indian Nations, Shawnee ritual was expressed most publically in their dances. The Shawnee ritual year opened with the Spring Bread Dance and closed with the Fall Bread Dance. Some
Shawnee groups had a Green Corn Dance, but it was not the beginning of
the ritual year as in other northeastern or southeastern woodland
groups. It was rather related to the first ripening of the corn in
early summer. In keeping with its basic
subsistence pattern of hunting and gathering, the Shawnee moons were
related to this aspect of their annual cycle rather than to planting,
weeding and harvesting of the maize crop.
This data is primarily that of Erminie-Wheeler Voegelin, with reference to Morgan and the Prophet.
Excerpt from letter by Carl and Erminie Voegelin, date July 1934:
are enclosing a list of Shawnee dances, with those for 1) amusement and
the 2) ceremonial rounds for the Absentee Shawnee, comprising the Thawigila,
Kispoko and Pekuwi divisions located between Shawnee and Norman, Okla.,
[vicinity of Little Axe] and the Cherokee or loyal Shawnee, comprising
the Chalaka?a division located around White Oak, Okla., and now incorporated with the Cherokee. The
Eastern Shawnee, which was composed largely of the Mekoche division and
a few survivors of which still live on the Shawnee reservation in NE
Oklahoma around Miami, gives neither night dances nor ceremonial dances
at present, although they formerly used to. In
historic times at least until they were intimately associated with the
Seneca, and it may be that mekodja or the ?Eastern Shawnee? were the
only ones to use the False faces and Kshkuck faces, instead of the
Loyal Shawnee. This whole matter needs a
little more clearing up?.Information on the formation for the various
dances is not, as you will notice, complete by any means. We are still working on this.?
EWV = Erminie-Wheeler Voegelin with a cover letter letter to Frank Speck, signed by Carl and Erminie Voegelin. 572.97 Sp3 in the Frank G. Speck Papers, APS III. Northeast, E. Miscellaneous Tribes, 2. Shawnee, c. Shawnee Dances (Freeman Guide, 3649). CFV undoubtedly did the eliciting of the terms and EWV the ethnological descriptions. The cover letter is dated July 15, 1934 at 332 Kickapoo St., Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Invaluable as well are dances listed by Lewis Henry Morgon during his fieldwork in Kansas among the Shawnee in 1859-60. His
source was Blue Jacket. The Shawnee Prophet, in Shawnee Traditions by
Trowbridge (1824) lists some dances as well. In the discussion of
Shawnee ritual, James H. Howard's contributins to Shawnee
Ceremonialism, in Shawnee!, will be fully utilized.