By J. Eric Thompson, George E. Stuart
A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs (Civilization of the yankee Indian)
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38 This collaboration was based on much more than mere political expediency. Intermarriages between Shawnees and their neighbors bound individuals with diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds together as families. Elite Shawnee women played a major role in constructing such networks. One such woman was Weenepeeweytah, a “Cousin” of a lower Susquehanna Shawnee headman “The Greatest Travellers in America” known as Savannah. She married a noted Seneca man named Sawantaeny whose networks extended from the Potomac River to Iroquoia.
He became a neenawtooma only after the other leaders of his town had recognized him as such, again in a communal feast. These customs bound each new leader intimately to the other powerful people and m’shomas of their community. 14 19 20 “The Greatest Travellers in America” In addition to new forms of political cooperation, the appearance of council houses suggests that new communal identities were emerging in the Late Fort Ancient towns. Postcontact Shawnee mšikamekwis housed not only council meetings, but also town rituals and nighttime social dances that drew the community together for prayer, entertainment, and celebration.
It seems likely that the towns formed the foundations for the historically known Shawnee divisions. 15 New supra-local social networks and identities emerged as well. From the late ﬁfteenth century on, the Fort Ancient towns created new ties to one another. Archaeologically this can be seen best in the gradual uniﬁcation of material culture, especially ceramics, throughout the Fort Ancient country. This development probably demonstrates increasing interaction, visiting, and intermarriage among the Fort Ancient communities.