Seminole Indians

The Seminole Indians are a North American Indian Tribe and part of the Creek Confederation of tribes. The native tongue of the Seminole Indians is the Muskogee language. In the early 1700s, the tribe of would-be Seminole Indians migrated to Florida and banded with another group of Indians that spoke the Mikasuki language.

Though they were of different tribes, they banded together to form what would later become the Seminole Indians, a tribe officially recognized as a Native American Indian Tribe. The word seminole means “runaways”. Though the Seminole Indians are Native Americans, they were not native to Florida.

In 1763, Florida became under Britain’s rule. The British were instigators of trouble between the Seminole Indians and the American settlers. Very often, black slaves who would escape and run away could find shelter amongst the Seminole Indians. This was one reason why the Seminoles were not popular with American settlers, especially plantation owners. The unsettled relationship between the Seminole Indians and the American settlers led to the Seminole wars. After the first Seminole war, Florida was given to the United States. By the end of the second and third Seminole wars, the Seminole tribes had all but vanished from Florida and been relocated to Oklahoma, settling on the western edge of the Creek Reservation.

The Seminole Indians relied primarily on fishing, supplemented by hunting, for food. They wore clothing with brightly colored material, mostly inspired by the bright colors in Spanish fashion. The Seminole culture was dependent on a healthy ecosystem and they believed if the land suffered or died, the tribe would suffer and die. After the U.S. took jurisdiction of Florida, what tribes remained lost much of their hunting and fishing land to the development of tourism and settlements. It was a period of approximately only 120 years that the Seminole Indians occupied Florida.

Joseph Paige 2006

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