Members of the Shawnee Tribe Visit Southern Illinois Ancestral Home

(AP) Members of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma have visited the group’s ancestral home in southern Illinois. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the visit was part of an effort to connect young tribe members to their cultural heritage. About a dozen members of the tribe visited as part of a collaboration with Southern Illinois University and the Shawnee National Forest. U.S. Forest Service archaeologists accompanied the group to archaeologically significant sites, like Cahokia Mounds and Millstone Bluff in Pope County. Joseph Blanchard is the tribal historic preservation officer. He says the tribe members are six generations removed from southern Illinois so that’s why it’s important to have young people visit. Most Shawnee live in Oklahoma today. They were forced west after the Indian Removal Act of 1830.