The Worlds the Shawnees Made

Migration and Violence in Early America

By Stephen Warren

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, 5 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2727-4
    Published: February 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8400-8
    Published: January 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1174-7
    Published: January 2014

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Awards & distinctions

A 2015 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In 1779, Shawnees from Chillicothe, a community in the Ohio country, told the British, "We have always been the frontier." Their statement challenges an oft-held belief that American Indians derive their unique identities from longstanding ties to native lands. By tracking Shawnee people and migrations from 1400 to 1754, Stephen Warren illustrates how Shawnees made a life for themselves at the crossroads of empires and competing tribes, embracing mobility and often moving willingly toward violent borderlands. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the Shawnees ranged over the eastern half of North America and used their knowledge to foster notions of pan-Indian identity that shaped relations between Native Americans and settlers in the revolutionary era and beyond.

Warren's deft analysis makes clear that Shawnees were not anomalous among Native peoples east of the Mississippi. Through migration, they and their neighbors adapted to disease, warfare, and dislocation by interacting with colonizers as slavers, mercenaries, guides, and traders. These adaptations enabled them to preserve their cultural identities and resist coalescence without forsaking their linguistic and religious traditions.

About the Author

Stephen Warren is associate professor of history and American Studies at the University of Iowa and was a historian for the PBS documentary "We Shall Remain," which aired in 2009.
For more information about Stephen Warren, visit the Author Page.


“Warren’s impressive study provides an articulate and thought-provoking examination of a complex topic.”--Journal of American History

"Merits high praise and wide readership."--Jrnl of Southern History

“The most comprehensive history to date of the Shawnee people from their ancestral ‘Fort Ancient’ cultural origins to the eve of the Seven Years’ War in 1754. Essential. All levels/libraries.”--Choice

“Warren explores the history of a tribe that had no long-standing ties to a native land but formed its identity through migration and adaptation to borderlands formed by the arrival of Europeans and the dislocations of native peoples.”--Missouri Historical Review

“Warren offers a welcome addition to the growing literature on the Native peoples of the Midwest and their adaptions in the face of colonialism.”--Annals of Iowa

“Fine research and writing that has opened our view into such disparate and complicated worlds.”--Indiana Magazine of History