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http://www.swoyersart.com/howard_terpning/isdzan.jpggexternal image 129299061_eRYq8-S.jpgexternal image Ndebele_art.jpgSeminole


The Seminole are part of the Creek Confederation of tribes.


Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma




In the 1700's they moved into Florida, which was then inhabited by the Spanish. They shared land with a group of Indians that spoke the Mikasuki language. The two groups banded and became known as the Seminoles, meaning "runaways". In 1763, Florida was taken by the British. The British often caused problems between the Seminoles and American settlers. When black slaves escaped from their masters, they often found protection with the Seminoles. Because of this, Americans fought against the Seminoles in the First, Second, and Third Seminole Wars.
The outcome of the First Seminole War involved Spain giving Florida to the United States. The Second Seminole War was one of the most costly of the United States-Indian wars. The majority of the tribe surrendered and moved to Oklahoma. They settled on the western area of the Creek reservation. The Third Seminole War started from renewed efforts to find the Seminole remnant remaining in Florida. This war caused little bloodshed. However, it ended with the United States paying a troublesome band of refugees to go West. After the wars ended, over 3,000 Natives had been forced into the western territories of Arkansas and Oklahoma. As few as 300 remained in Florida.
From the 1920's onward, development burst in Southern Florida. The Seminoles lost hunting land to tourists and settlers. They were gradually forced into the wage labor economy. They become agricultural workers and attracted tourists with their exciting and colorful patchwork clothing.
Much of the traditional Seminole culture is dependent on a healthy ecosystem. Tribal members believe that if the land dies, so will the tribe. Seminole environmental projects are now designed to protect and preserve the land and water systems.

Look at a graphic or text only version of a Seminole timeline spanning history as far back as the early 1500s.


The unique confluence of culture and circumstance which would become today's Seminole Tribe of Florida can be traced back at least 12,000 years, say researchers.

Indian Resistance and Removal

In the early days of its existence, the fledgling United States government carried out a policy of displacement and extermination against the American Indians in the eastern US, systematically removing them from the path of "white" settlement. Until 1821, Florida remained under the control of the government of Spain but the US Territories of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana were its covetous next-door neighbors. It was clear that the US wanted the Spaniards out of Florida and was willing to consider any means, including warfare, to acquire the rich land.

Osceola and Abiaka

Though his exploits were not as well publicized, Seminole medicine man Abiaka may have been more important to the internal Seminole war machine than Osceola.

No Surrender!

By May 10, 1842, when a frustrated President John Tyler ordered the end of military actions against the Seminoles, over $20 million had been spent, 1500 American soldiers had died and still no formal peace treaty had been signed.

Survival In The Swamp

The Seminoles began the 20th century where they had been left at the conclusion of the Seminole Wars - in abject poverty, hiding out in remote
camps in the wet wilderness areas of South Florida.

The Council Oak

A special generation of Seminole leaders - children of that last generation to hide in the swamps - began to meet regularly beneath a huge oak tree on the Hollywood reservation.

Seminoles Today

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has matured both politically and financially.

The Future

The challenge of maintaining the unique Seminole culture while operating in the mainstream economy is the priority for today's Seminole Tribe of Florida.
For more information about the government of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, please see these articles in the Extracts of the 40th Anniversary edition of the Seminole Tribune:
Tribal Founders' Interview Series



The first Seminole government achieved what many felt was impossible, bringing the chaos of new organization under control.

Today's Government

Today, the Council administers the Tribal gaming enterprises, citrus groves, the Billie Swamp Safari, and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
For more information about the government of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, please see these articles in the Extracts of the 40th Anniversary edition of the Seminole Tribune:

**Tribal Council**
**Board of Directors**

Culture - Who we are

external image kiddress.png====Art====
The expression of Seminole culture has also been manifested on the artist's canvas. Noah Billie, perhaps the most acclaimed of Seminole painters, had a distinctive style and a love of culture which is very evident to anyone who views his works. ====Basketry====
"Sweetgrass" baskets have been made by Seminole Indians for more than 60 years. ====Beadwork====
The amount of beads worn by Seminole women was a phenomenon to all who saw them. Imagine the amount of stamina it took to conduct daily tasks, which were a lot more vigorous than sitting in front of a TV, while wearing 12 pounds or so of beads! ====Chickee====
The chickee style of architecture - palmetto thatch over a cypress log frame - was born during the early 1800s when Seminole Indians, pursued by U.S. troops, needed fast, disposable shelter while on the run. ====Clans====
There are eight Seminole clans - Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown, Bird, Snake, and Otter. ====Hairstyle====
A look at 18th century hairstyles of the Lower Creek Indians, many of whom would in time become known as Seminoles, shows little conclusive information about a uniform look. ====Seminoles and Christianity====
Tribes of Indians in Oklahoma began to be Christianized mainly through the efforts of the Southern Baptist Convention, Home Mission Board as early as 1846. Baptist missionaries came to the Oklahoma Creek and Oklahoma Seminole tribes in the 1870's. ====Dolls====
More than just cloth-wrapped palmetto fiber husk stuffed with cotton, the Seminole Doll accurately portrays the clothing and hairstyle worn by traditional Seminole men and women. external image jimsong.png====Green Corn Dance====
At the Green Corn Dance, Seminoles participate in purification and manhood ceremonies. Tribal disputes are also settled during this time. ====Seminole Food and Recipes====
Today's Seminole Indian enjoys the same foods, shops at the same grocery stores and calls out for pizza delivery as much as anyone living outside Seminole Country. ====Language====
The Seminole Indians have two languages still in use today, neither of which is traditionally written. ====Legends====
Late at night around the campfires, Seminole children safely tucked into mosquito nets used to listen to the elders retelling the old stories. external image cornladyvideo.png====A Legendary Storyteller====
The recipient of a legend must do his or her best to retell the story as close to the original version as possible. It is a great responsibility and for this reason, the best storytellers are greatly respected among those in the tribe. One of the Seminole Tribe's noted story tellers is Betty Mae Jumper. She has written two books, ... and With the Wagons came God's Word, and Legends of the Seminoles. Both Legends Of the Seminoles and a video featuring Betty Mae Jumper called The Corn Lady are available at the Marketplace, then click on books.


Medicine men and women still play a vital role in the lives of Seminole Indians. These special individuals do not replace medical doctors, nor are their "treatments" designed to take the place of organized medicine. ====Seminoles and the Land====
Traditional Seminole cultural, religious, and recreational activities, as well as commercial endeavors, are dependent on a healthy Everglades ecosystem. ====Seminole Clothing: Colorful Patchwork====
For many decades, visitors to South Florida have been struck by the novel and colorful dress of the Seminole Indians. Bands of intricate designs adorn most garments. For more on Seminole Culture visit the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum under Tribal Enterprises.