21 Facts About Seminole


Seminole are a Native American people who developed in Florida in the 18th century.

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The Seminole people emerged in a process of ethnogenesis from various Native American groups who settled in Spanish Florida beginning in the early 1700s, most significantly northern Muscogee Creeks from what is Georgia and Alabama.

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Seminole culture is largely derived from that of the Creek; the most important ceremony is the Green Corn Dance; other notable traditions include use of the black drink and ritual tobacco.

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In part due to the arrival of Native Americans from other cultures, the Seminole became increasingly independent of other Creek groups and established their own identity through ethnogenesis.

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The Seminole were moved out of their rich farmland in northern Florida and confined to a large reservation in the interior of the Florida peninsula by the Treaty of Moultrie Creek.

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The Florida Seminole re-established limited relations with the U S government in the early 1900s and were officially granted 5, 000 acres of reservation land in south Florida in 1930.

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Old crafts and traditions were revived in both Florida and Oklahoma in the mid-20th century as the Seminole began seeking tourism dollars from Americans traveling along the new interstate highway system.

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The Seminole identify as yat'siminoli or "free people" because for centuries their ancestors had successfully resisted efforts to subdue or convert them to Roman Catholicism.

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The Seminole were a heterogeneous tribe made up of mostly Lower Creeks from Georgia, who by the time of the Creek Wars numbered about 4, 000 in Florida.

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The unified Seminole spoke two languages: Creek and Mikasuki, two among the Muskogean languages family.

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Seminole was in power through the American Civil War, after which the US government began to interfere with tribal government, supporting its own candidate for chief.

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The Seminole maintained a tradition of accepting escaped slaves from Southern plantations, infuriating planters in the American South by providing a route for their slaves to escape bondage.

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Several treaties seem to bear the mark of representatives of the Seminole tribe, including the Treaty of Moultrie Creek and the Treaty of Payne's Landing.

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The Seminole maintained a thriving trade business with white merchants during this period, selling alligator hides, bird plumes, and other items sourced from the Everglades.

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The Florida Seminole founded a high-stakes bingo game on their reservation in the late 1970s, winning court challenges to initiate Indian Gaming, which many tribes have adopted to generate revenues for welfare, education and development.

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Seminole were organized around italwa, the basis of their social, political and ritual systems, and roughly equivalent to towns or bands in English.

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The Seminole population had been growing significantly, though it was diminished by the wars.

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Some Seminole families participate in both religions; these practitioners have developed a syncretic Christianity that has absorbed some tribal traditions.

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From 1861 to 1866, he led as chief of the Seminole who supported the Union and fought in the Indian Brigade.

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The Seminole have a society based on a matrilineal kinship system of descent and inheritance: children are born into their mother's band and derive their status from her people.

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Seminole worked hard to adapt, but they were highly affected by the rapidly changing American environment.

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