Summary of Native American Tribes – S

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Sewee – A small tribe who formerly lived in east South Carolina, occupying the lower part of the Santee River and the coast westward to the divide of Ashley River. Nothing is known of their language, but judging by their alliances and their final incorporation with the Catawba, they are assumed to have been Siouan. Explorer, John Lawson, met them in 1701 when they were living at the mouth of Santee River, and said that they had been a large tribe, but had been wasted by alcohol and smallpox. Lawson also stated that the Sewee undertook to send a fleet of canoes to England, along with most of their able-bodied men, for the purpose of trade. However, a storm swamped most of the canoes, and the survivors were rescued by an English ship and sold as slaves in the West Indies. In 1715, there remained but one village of 57 souls. The Yamasee War of that year probably put an end to their separate existence as a tribe, forcing the survivors to join the Catawba.

Shakori – A small tribe associated with the Eno and Adshusheer in North Carolina in the 17th century. It is doubtful, from their physical characteristics, whether they were of Siouan stock, though they were allied with Siouan tribes. As the Shakori were constantly associated with the Eno, they were probably linguistically related to them. They are first mentioned by explorer, Francis Yardley in 1654, who said a Tuscarora Indian described to him “a great nation called Cacores,” who were of dwarfish stature, yet exceedingly brave and fierce in fight, so that even the powerful Tuscarora were unable to conquer them.

Explorer, John Lederer encountered them in 1672, finding the Shakori and Eno villages close to each other. By the time that Surveyor General, John Lawson came upon them in 1701, the Shakori and Eno had confederated and had also brought the Adshusheer tribe in with them. At that time, they were living just northeast of present-day Durham, North Carolina.

Mount Shasta, S.S. Gifford, 1873

Mount Shasta, S.S. Gifford, 1873.

Shasta – A group of small tribes or divisions forming the Shastan linguistic family of north California and formerly extending into Oregon. The culture and customs of the Shasta seem to have been much the same throughout this area, but linguistically they were divided into four groups speaking divergent dialects. Little record was preserved of their characteristics as white settlers moved into the region, they lost many of their native customs. However, it is known that they were a sedentary people, living in small villages, composed of rectangular, subterranean plank houses. Primarily they ate acorns, seeds, and roots, but the fish, particularly salmon, was an important factor in the food supply. They utilized broad, clumsy dugout canoes for fishing.

The first contact of the Shasta with the whites was with fur traders, who early in the 19th century trapped in their territory. With the opening of the trade route from Oregon to California by way of Sacramento Valley in the middle of the 19th century, the Shasta came more into contact with civilization, and the development of gold mining in the 1860’s hastened the process of their extinction, for they soon succumbed to the unfavorable environment of the mining camp. By the early 1900’s there were only about a dozen left that could be counted.

Shawnee – An Algonquian tribe, the Shawnee were original inhabitants of modern-day Ohio, but were far-ranging people with villages located as far north as New York state and as far south as Georgia. Their name translates to “Southerners.” During the French and Indian War, most Shawnee fought on the side of the French.

During the Revolutionary War, the Shawnee fought on the side of the British. After the war, they fought in coalition with other tribes when the fledgling United States Army launched a major campaign against Little Turtle, Chief of the Miami. The result was the most crushing defeat ever suffered by the United States Army, which lost nearly two-thirds of its strength. Most Shawnee live in Oklahoma, but the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band, what was left of the eastern Shawnee, have been officially recognized in the State of Ohio. More …


Shoshone Camp, about 1900

Shoshone Camp, about 1900. Click for prints, products and downloads.

Shoshone – One of of the Great Basin tribes, the Shoshone occupied a vast area from Oregon to Southern Colorado. They were a hunter-gatherer tribe, and also domesticated horses which were used for the buffalo hunts. The Shoshone were a close relative of the Ute, Paiute, Gosiute, and Bannock Indian tribes, with whom they shared land and intermarried. More …

Shinnecock – An Algonquian tribe who lived primarily on Long Island, New York, occupying the south coast from Shinnecock Bay to Montauk Point. Many of them joined the Brotherton Indians in New York. Early on, they were provided a reservation located about three miles west of Southampton. Today, the Shinnecock Nation is among the oldest self-governing tribes of Indians in the United States and has been a state-recognized tribe for over 200 years. In 2005, they received federal recognition. Today, they number about 1,300 people, many of whom still live on the 1,200 acre reservation.

Shuswap – Also called Secwepemc, they were the most important Salish tribe of British Columbia, Canada, formerly holding most of the territory between the Columbia and Fraser Rivers, including the basin of Thompson River and extending north to include Quesnel lake. By the early 1900s they occupied several small village reservations and number about 2,100 people. The Shuswap Nation still exists today, with its people occupying much of the land in the interior of British Columbia.

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