Seminole
Overview
 
The Seminole are a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people originally of Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges...

 out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, who settled in Florida in the early 18th century. The word Seminole is a corruption of cimarrón, a Spanish term for "runaway" or "wild one", historically used for certain Native American groups in Florida.
Encyclopedia
The Seminole are a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people originally of Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges...

 out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, who settled in Florida in the early 18th century. The word Seminole is a corruption of cimarrón, a Spanish term for "runaway" or "wild one", historically used for certain Native American groups in Florida. The Seminole are closely related to the Miccosukee
Miccosukee
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are a federally recognized Native American tribe in the U.S. state of Florida. They were part of the Seminole nation until the mid-20th century, when they organized as an independent tribe, receiving federal recognition in 1962...

, who were recognized as a separate tribe in 1962.

After an initial period of colonization in Florida, during which they distanced themselves increasingly from other Creek groups, the Seminole established a thriving trade network during the British and second Spanish periods
Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish territory of Florida, which formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire. Originally extending over what is now the southeastern United States, but with no defined boundaries, la Florida was a component of...

 (roughly 1767–1821). The tribe expanded considerably during this time, and was further supplemented from the late 18th century with the appearance of the Black Seminoles
Black Seminoles
The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves , mostly Gullahs who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century...

 – free blacks
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 and escaped slaves who settled in communities near Seminole towns, where they paid tribute to the Native Americans in exchange for protection. However, tensions grew between the Seminole and the United States to the north, leading to a series of conflicts known as the Seminole Wars
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

 (1818–1858). Over the course of the wars most Seminoles were forced to relocate west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 in a process of Indian removal
Indian Removal
Indian removal was a nineteenth century policy of the government of the United States to relocate Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river...

. Perhaps fewer than 200 Seminoles remained in Florida, but those who did fostered a resurgence in traditional customs and a culture of staunch independence.

Seminole culture is largely derived from Creek culture. Most Seminoles speak the Mikasuki language
Mikasuki language
The Mikasuki language is a Muskogean language spoken by around 500 people in southern Florida. It is spoken by the Miccosukee tribe as well as many Florida Seminoles. The now-extinct Hitchiti language was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki.-Sounds:There are three tones, high, low and falling...

, with some (such as those living on the Brighton Seminole Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, located in northeast Glades County near the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee. It is one of several Seminole reservations in Florida...

) speaking Creek
Creek language
The Creek language, also known as Muskogee or Muscogee , is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee and Seminole people primarily in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Florida....

; English is also prevalent today. The most important ceremony is the Green Corn Dance, which is celebrated largely as it is among the Creeks; other notable Creek-derived traditions include use of the black drink
Black drink
Black drink was the name given by colonists to a ritual beverage called Asi, brewed by Native Americans in the Southeastern United States...

 and ritual smoking of tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

. As the Seminole adapted to the Florida environment, they developed their own local traditions, such as the construction of open air thatched-roof houses known as chickee
Chickee
Chikee or Chickee is a shelter supported by posts, with a raised floor, a thatched roof and open sides. The chickee style of architecture — palmetto thatch over a bald cypress log frame — was adopted by Seminoles during the Second and Third Seminole War as U.S...

s.

The Seminoles who moved west of the Mississippi largely settled in what is now Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. Today most are enrolled with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the largest of the three federally recognized Seminole organizations, which include the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida...

, while others belong to unorganized groups. The Florida Seminoles reestablished limited relations with the U.S. government in the late 19th century, and eventually received 5000 acres (20.2 km²) of reservation land in Florida. However, few Seminole had interest in moving to reservations until the 1940s, when many Seminole Christians relocated to them in order to establish their own churches. Reservation governments were founded, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Seminole Tribe of Florida
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Florida. Together with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, it is one of three federally recognized Seminole entities...

 received federal recognition in 1957. However, the recognition caused conflict with a group living along the Tamiami Trail
Tamiami Trail
The Tamiami Trail is the southernmost of U.S. Highway 41 from State Road 60 in Tampa to U.S. Route 1 in Miami. The road also has the hidden designation of State Road 90....

, who did not feel appropriately represented; they sought federal recognition as the Miccosukee
Miccosukee
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are a federally recognized Native American tribe in the U.S. state of Florida. They were part of the Seminole nation until the mid-20th century, when they organized as an independent tribe, receiving federal recognition in 1962...

 Tribe, which they received in 1962.

History

In the late 18th century, the Lower Creeks, a tribe of Muscogee people, began to migrate into Florida to evade the dominance of the Upper Creeks, effectively displacing the Calusa
Calusa
The Calusa were a Native American people who lived on the coast and along the inner waterways of Florida's southwest coast. Calusa society developed from that of archaic peoples of the Everglades region; at the time of European contact, the Calusa were the people of the Caloosahatchee culture...

 and Mayaimi
Mayaimi
The Mayaimi were a Native American people who lived around Lake Okeechobee in Florida from the beginning of the Common Era until the 17th or 18th century. The group took their name from the lake, which was then called Mayaimi, which meant "big water" in the language of the Mayaimi, Calusa, and...

 tribes with the aid of the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 who moved many of them to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, where the tribes' populations were soon decimated by disease. The Seminole intermingled with the Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 and other few remaining indigenous people there, some recently arrived as refugees after the Yamasee War
Yamasee War
The Yamasee War was a conflict between British settlers of colonial South Carolina and various Native American Indian tribes, including the Yamasee, Muscogee, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Catawba, Apalachee, Apalachicola, Yuchi, Savannah River Shawnee, Congaree, Waxhaw, Pee Dee, Cape Fear, Cheraw, and...

, such as the Yuchi
Yuchi
For the Chinese surname 尉迟, see Yuchi.The Yuchi, also spelled Euchee and Uchee, are a Native American Indian tribe who traditionally lived in the eastern Tennessee River valley in Tennessee in the 16th century. During the 17th century, they moved south to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina...

, Yamasee
Yamasee
The Yamasee were a multiethnic confederation of Native Americans that lived in the coastal region of present-day northern coastal Georgia near the Savannah River and later in northeastern Florida.-History:...

 and others. In a process of ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges...

, they formed a new culture which they called "Seminole", a derivative of the Mvskoke
Muskogean languages
Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

 (a Creek language
Creek language
The Creek language, also known as Muskogee or Muscogee , is a Muskogean language spoken by Muscogee and Seminole people primarily in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Florida....

) word simano-li, an adaptation of the Spanish cimarrón which means "wild" (in their case, "wild men"), or "runaway" [men]. The Seminole were a heterogeneous tribe made up of mostly Lower Creeks from Georgia, Mikasuki
Mikasuki language
The Mikasuki language is a Muskogean language spoken by around 500 people in southern Florida. It is spoken by the Miccosukee tribe as well as many Florida Seminoles. The now-extinct Hitchiti language was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki.-Sounds:There are three tones, high, low and falling...

-speaking Muscogees, escaped African-American slaves, and to a lesser extent, Native Americans from other tribes and even white Americans. The unified Seminole spoke two languages: Creek and Mikasuki (a modern dialect similar to Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

), two different members of the Muscogean Native American languages family, a language group that includes Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

.

During the colonial years, the Seminole were on good terms with both the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. In 1784, the treaty ending the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 transferred British rule of Florida to Spain. The Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

's decline enabled the Seminole to settle more deeply into Florida. They were led by a dynasty of chiefs founded in the 18th century by Cowkeeper
Cowkeeper
Cowkeeper, also known as Ahaya in Mikasuki , was the first recorded chief of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe. This was the name which the English used, as he held a very large herd of cattle.-Early life and education:...

. This dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 lasted until 1842, when the US forced the majority of Seminoles to move from Florida to the Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 (modern Oklahoma) after the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

.

There is also a village of Black Seminoles
Black Seminoles
The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves , mostly Gullahs who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century...

 who have lived at Red Bays on Andros Island in the Bahamas since the 1820s.

Religion

Seminole tribes generally follow Christianity, both Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 and Roman Catholicism, and their traditional Native religion, which is expressed through the stomp dance
Stomp dance
The Stomp Dance is performed by various Eastern Woodland tribes and Native American communities, including the Muscogee, Yuchi, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Delaware, Miami, Caddo, Ottawa, Peoria, Shawnee, Seminole, Natchez, and Seneca-Cayuga tribes...

 and the Green Corn Ceremony
Green Corn Ceremony
The Green Corn Ceremony is an English term that refers to a general religious and social theme celebrated by a number of American Indian peoples of the Eastern Woodlands and the Southeastern tribes...

. Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 have practiced Green Corn ceremonies for centuries. Contemporary southeastern Native American tribes, such as the Seminole and Muscogee Creek, still practice these ceremonies. A high degree of syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 exists between Christianity and traditional Seminole religion, and Seminole Christian churches often sing hymns in the traditional languages.

In the 1950s, federal projects prompted the tribe's reorganization. They created organizations within tribal governance to promote modernization. As Christian pastors began preaching on reservations, Green Corn Ceremony attendance decreased. This created tension between religiously traditional Seminoles and those who began adopting Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. In the 1960s and 1970s, some tribal members on reservations, such as the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, located in northeast Glades County near the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee. It is one of several Seminole reservations in Florida...

, viewed organized Christianity as a threat to their traditions. Tribal reorganization appeared to be one factor in facilitating Christian conversion, but that also represented social changes of a new generation.

By the 1980s, Seminole communities were concerned about loss of language and tradition. Many tribal members began to revive the observance of traditional Green Corn Dance ceremonies, and some moved away from Christianity. By 2000 religious tension between Green Corn Dance attendees and Christians (particularly Baptists) decreased. Some Seminole families participate in both religions.

Seminole Wars

After attacks by Spanish settlers on Native American towns, natives began raiding Georgia settlements, purportedly at the behest of the Spanish. In the early 19th century, the U.S. Army made increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory to recapture escaped slaves. General Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

's 1817–1818 campaign against the Seminoles became known as the First Seminole War. Following the war, the United States effectively controlled East Florida
East Florida
East Florida was a colony of Great Britain from 1763–1783 and of Spain from 1783–1822. East Florida was established by the British colonial government in 1763; as its name implies it consisted of the eastern part of the region of Florida, with West Florida comprising the western parts. Its capital...

.

In 1819 the United States and Spain signed the Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

, which took effect in 1821. According to its terms, the United States acquired Florida and, in exchange, renounced all claims to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. Andrew Jackson was named military governor of Florida. As European-American settlement increased after the treaty, settlers pressured the Federal government to remove the Native Americans from Florida. Slaveholders resented that tribes harbored runaway black slaves, and more settlers wanted access to desirable lands held by Native Americans. Georgian slaveholders wanted the "maroons"
Maroon (people)
Maroons were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together...

 and fugitive slaves living among the Seminoles, known today as Black Seminoles
Black Seminoles
The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves , mostly Gullahs who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century...

, returned to slavery.

In 1832, the United States government signed the Treaty of Paynes Landing with a few of the Seminole chiefs. They promised lands west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 if the chiefs agreed to leave Florida voluntarily with their peoples. The Seminoles who remained prepared for war. White settlers continued to press for removal.

In 1835, the U.S. Army arrived to enforce the treaty. Seminole leader Osceola
Osceola
Osceola, also known as Billy Powell , became an influential leader with the Seminole in Florida. He was of Creek, Scots-Irish and English parentage, and had migrated to Florida with his mother after the defeat of the Creek in 1814.Osceola led a small band of warriors in the Seminole resistance...

 led the vastly outnumbered resistance during the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

. Drawing on a population of about 4,000 Seminole Indians and 800 allied Black Seminoles, he mustered at most 1,400 warriors (Andrew Jackson estimated they had only 900). They countered combined U.S. Army and militia forces that ranged from 6,000 troops at the outset to 9,000 at the peak of deployment in 1837. To survive, the Seminole allies employed guerrilla tactics
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 with devastating effect against U.S. forces. Osceola was arrested when he came under a flag of truce
White flag
White flags have had different meanings throughout history and depending on the locale.-Flag of temporary truce in order to parley :...

 to negotiations in 1837. He died in jail less than a year later. His body was buried without his head, which was preserved.

Other war chiefs, such as Halleck Tustenuggee
Halleck Tustenuggee
Halleck Tustenuggee was a 19th century Seminole warchief. He fought against the United States government in the Second Seminole War and for the government in the American Civil War.Tustenuggee, translated as "Warrior" or "Grand Chief of War," was a common surname for Seminole warchiefs...

 and Jumper, and Black Seminoles Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and John Horse, continued the Seminole resistance against the army. After a full decade of fighting, the war ended in 1842. Scholars estimate the U.S. government spent about $40,000,000 on the war, at the time a huge sum. Many Native Americans were forcibly exiled to Creek lands west of the Mississippi; others retreated into the Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

. In the end, the government gave up trying to subjugate the Seminoles and left the estimated fewer than 500 survivors in peace.

Contemporary

During the Seminole Wars, the Seminole people began to break apart due to the conflict and differences in ideology. The Seminole population had also been growing significantly, though it was diminished by the wars. With the division of the Seminole tribe, some traditions such as powwow trails and ceremonies were maintained among them. The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Seminole Tribe of Florida described below are fully independent nations that operate in their own spheres.

Oklahoma Seminole

As a result of the Second Seminole War (1835–1842) about 3,800 Seminole and maroons were forcibly removed to Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 (the modern state of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

). During the American Civil War, the members and leaders split over their loyalties, with John Chupco
John Chupco
John Chupco was a leader of the Hvteyievike Band of the Seminole during the time of their forced relocation to Oklahoma. From 1861-1866, he served as chief of the Seminole who supported the Union; the tribe divided over their loyalties during the war, with many supporting the...

 refusing to sign a treaty with the Confederacy
Confederacy
Confederacy may refer to:A Confederation, an association of sovereign states or communities. Examples include:* Confederate States of America, eleven southern states of the United States of America between 1861 and 1865...

. From 1861-1866, he led as chief the Seminole who supported the Union
Union
Union may refer to:* Trade union or labor union, an organization of workers that have banded together, often for the purpose of getting better working conditions or pay...

 and fought in the Indian Brigade.

The split lasted until 1872. After the war, the United States government negotiated only with the loyal Seminole, requiring the tribe to make a new peace treaty to cover those who allied with the Confederacy, to emancipate their slaves, and to extend tribal citizenship to those freedmen who chose to stay in Seminole territory.

The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the largest of the three federally recognized Seminole organizations, which include the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida...

 now has about 6,000 enrolled members, who are divided into fourteen bands, similar to clans. Two are called "Freedmen Bands" (also "Black Seminoles
Black Seminoles
The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves , mostly Gullahs who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century...

") because they descended in part from escaped slaves who were freed after the Civil War. Band membership is matrilineal: children are members of their mother's band. The group is ruled by an elected council, with two members from each band. The capital is at Wewoka, Oklahoma
Wewoka, Oklahoma
Wewoka is a city in Seminole County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,562 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Seminole County.Wewoka is the capital of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.-Geography:Wewoka is located at ....

. Recently tribal citizenship disputes have arisen related to the membership status of "Seminole Freedmen" in Oklahoma.

Florida Seminoles

The remaining few hundred Seminoles survived in the Florida swamplands avoiding removal. They lived in the Everglades, to isolate themselves from European-Americans. Seminoles continued their distinctive life, such as "clan-based matrilocal residence in scattered thatched-roof chickee camps." Today, the 21st century descendants of the Seminole proudly note the Seminole were never officially conquered. That is one source of the nation's sovereign rights.

After the Third Seminole War, the Seminoles in Florida divided into two groups; those who were more traditional and those willing to adapt to the reservations. Those who accepted reservation lands and made adaptations were recognized as the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Seminole Tribe of Florida
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Florida. Together with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, it is one of three federally recognized Seminole entities...

. Those who preferred the more traditional lifestyle organized themselves as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Other Seminoles not affiliated with either of the federally recognized groups are known as Traditional or Independent Seminoles.

Seminole Tribe of Florida

The Seminole worked to adapt, but they were highly affected by the rapidly changing American environment. Natural disasters magnified changes from the governmental drainage project of the Everglades. Residential, agricultural and business development changed the "natural, social, political, and economic environment" of the Seminole. In the 1930s, the Seminole slowly began to move onto federally designated reservation lands within the region. The US government had purchased lands and put them in trust for Seminole use. Initially, few Seminoles had any interest in moving to the reservation land or in establishing more formal relations with the government. Some feared that if they moved onto reservations, they would be forced to move to Oklahoma. Others accepted the move in hopes of stability, jobs promised by the Indian New Deal, or as new convert
Convert
The convert or try, in American football known as "point after", and Canadian football "Point after touchdown", is a one-scrimmage down played immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score an extra one point by kicking the ball through the uprights , or...

s to Christianity.

Beginning in the 1940s, however, more Seminoles began to move to the reservations. A major catalyst for this was the conversion of many Seminole to Christianity, following missionary effort spearheaded by the Creek Baptist evangelist Stanley Smith. For the new converts, relocating to the reservations afforded them the opportunity to establish their own churches. Reservation Seminoles began forming tribal governments and forming ties with the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

. In 1957 the nation reorganized and established formal relations with the US government as the Seminole Tribe of Florida
Seminole Tribe of Florida
The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a federally recognized Seminole tribe based in the U.S. state of Florida. Together with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, it is one of three federally recognized Seminole entities...

. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is headquartered in Hollywood, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
-Demographics:As of 2000, there were 59,673 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of...

. They control several reservations: Big Cypress
Big Cypress Indian Reservation
The Big Cypress Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It is located in southeastern Hendry County and northwestern Broward County in southern Florida in the United States. The reservation lies south of Lake Okeechobee and just north of Alligator Alley...

, Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation
Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, located in northeast Glades County near the northwest shore of Lake Okeechobee. It is one of several Seminole reservations in Florida...

, Dania, Florida State Reservation, and Tampa Reservation.

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida

The relocation to reservations and the federal recognition of the Seminole Tribe of Florida – a move largely supported by residents of the reservations – caused antiphathy between the reservation Seminole and those who had chosen not to move. In particularly, a group known as the Trail Indians, who lived along the Tamiami Trail
Tamiami Trail
The Tamiami Trail is the southernmost of U.S. Highway 41 from State Road 60 in Tampa to U.S. Route 1 in Miami. The road also has the hidden designation of State Road 90....

, felt disenfranchised by the situation. This was exacerbated in 1950 when some reservation Seminoles filed a land claim suit against the federal government that was not supported by the Trail Indians.

Following the recognition of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Trail Indians decided to organize their own separate tribal government. They sought recognition as the Miccosukee Tribe, as they spoke the Mikasuki (Miccosukee) language. They received full recognition in 1962, and received their own reservation land, collectively known as the Miccosukee Indian Reservation
Miccosukee Indian Reservation
The Miccosukee Indian Reservation is the homeland of the Miccosukee tribe of Native Americans. It is divided into three sections in two counties of southern Florida, USA. Their total land area is 128.256 sq mi...

. The Miccosukee Tribe set up a 333 acres (1.3 km²) reservation on the northern border of Everglades National Park, about 45 miles (72.4 km) west of Miami.

Commerce

In the United States 2000 Census, 12,431 people reported themselves as Seminole American Indian. An additional 15,000 people identified themselves as Seminoles in combination with some other tribal affiliation or race.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida entered into agreements with the US government in 1957 and 1962, respectively, confirming their sovereignty over tribal lands and agreeing to compensation for seized territory. The Seminole have been engaged in stock raising since the mid-1930s, when they received cattle from western Native Americans. The Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA) hoped that the cattle raising would teach Seminoles to become citizens using agricultural settlements. The BIA also hoped that this program would lead to Seminole self-sufficiency. Cattle owners realized that by using their cattle as equity, they could engage in "new capital-intensive pursuits", such as housing. Since then, the tribes have developed economies based chiefly on sales of duty-free tobacco, heritage and resort tourism, and gambling. On December 7, 2006, they purchased the Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Americans Peter Morton & Isaac Tigrett. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. In 2006, Hard Rock was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and...

 chain of restaurants.
Florida experienced a population boom in the early 20th century when the Flagler railroad to Miami was completed. The state became a growing destination for tourists and many resort towns were established. In the years that followed, many Seminoles worked in the cultural tourism trade. By the 1920s, many Seminoles were involved in service jobs. In addition, they were able to market their culture by selling traditional craft products (made mostly by women) and by exhibitions of traditional skills, such as wrestling alligators (by men). Some of the crafts included woodcarving, basket weaving, beadworking, patchworking, and palmetto-doll making. These crafts are still practiced today.

Fewer Seminole rely on crafts for income because gaming has become so lucrative. The Miccosukee Tribe has sustained itself by owning and operating a casino, resort
Resort
A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for holidays or vacations. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company....

, a golf club
Country club
A country club is a private club, often with a closed membership, that typically offers a variety of recreational sports facilities and is located in city outskirts or rural areas. Activities may include, for example, any of golf, tennis, swimming or polo...

, several museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 attractions, and the "Indian Village". At the "Indian Village", Miccosukee demonstrate traditional, pre-contact lifestyles to educate people about their culture.

"In 1979, the Seminoles opened the first casino on Indian land, ushering in what has become a multibillion-dollar industry operated by numerous tribes nationwide." This casino was the first tribally operated bingo hall in North America. Since its establishment, gaming has become an important source of revenue for tribal governments. Tribal gaming has provided secure employment, and the revenues have supported higher education, health insurance, services for the elderly, and personal income. In more recent years, income from the gaming industry has funded major economic projects such as sugarcane fields, citrus groves, cattle, ecotourism, and commercial agriculture. This has culminated in the purchase by the Seminole Tribe of Florida of Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe is a chain of theme restaurants founded in 1971 by Americans Peter Morton & Isaac Tigrett. In 1979, the cafe began covering its walls with rock and roll memorabilia, a tradition which expanded to others in the chain. In 2006, Hard Rock was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and...

, which previously they had licensed for several of their casinos.

The Seminole are reflected in numerous Florida place names:
  • Seminole County
    Seminole County, Florida
    Seminole County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. Located between Orlando to the south and Deland and Daytona Beach to the north, it is part of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. Its county seat and largest city is Sanford...

    ;
  • Osceola County
    Osceola County, Florida
    Osceola County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 172,493. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate for the county is 244,045, making it the 17th fastest-growing county in the United States. Its county seat is Kissimmee.- History :Osceola County was...

    ;
  • Seminole
    Seminole, Florida
    Seminole is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,890 at the 2000 census. As of 2007, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 19,195. St. Petersburg College has a campus in the city.-Geography:...

    , a city in Pinellas County
    Pinellas County, Florida
    Pinellas County is a county located in the state of Florida. Its county seat is Clearwater, Florida, and its largest city is St. Petersburg. This county is contained entirely within the telephone area code 727, except for some sections of Oldsmar, which have the area code 813...

    ; and
  • Seminole, a small community in Okaloosa County
    Okaloosa County, Florida
    Okaloosa County is a county located in the state of Florida. Located in northwest Florida, it extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the Alabama state line. As of the 2000 census, the population was 170,498. The U.S. Census Bureau 2005 estimate for the county is 182,172. The 2009 estimate for the...

    .

Florida State University connection

The image and name of the Seminole Osceola serves as a symbol for Florida State University
Florida State University
The Florida State University is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation...

 (FSU). Several high school athletic programs in the state use the nickname "Seminoles".

The National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 (NCAA) prohibition against use of Native American logos, signs in stadiums, cheerleader and band uniforms, and mascots as presumed "hostile and abusive" was attempted against FSU and the Seminoles. It is considered on a case-by-case basis elsewhere. FSU was exempted after the threat of litigation by the administration at FSU because the university had an agreement with the 3,100-member Seminole Tribe of Florida of the relationship and details of the images used. During the dispute, the Oklahoma Seminole also endorsed use of the name and image.

The "war chant" cheer made by spectators at FSU football games includes the "tomahawk chop", a gesture invented by the fans. At first they pointed to the goal line, encouraging the team to score, but over time, the gesture imitated a tomahawk
Tomahawk (axe)
A tomahawk is a type of axe native to North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as a transliteration of the Powhatan word.Tomahawks were general purpose tools used by Native Americans and European Colonials...

 swinging down. Traditionally, the Seminole seldom used tomahawks. Before converting to modern weaponry, Seminole ancestors used spears with flint, bone or cane tips, war clubs studded with sharks' teeth, and bows and arrows.

See also

  • Seminole (clipper)
    Seminole (clipper)
    The Seminole was a later clipper ship, built by Maxon & Fish at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1865.-Voyages:She was one of only two clipper ships in the post-Civil War period to make a passage from an Atlantic port to San Francisco in less than one hundred days. Seminole arrived at San Francisco from...

    , 1865 clipper ship

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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