A research paper on the Seminole Indians might begin: The Seminole Indian tribe of Florida is a people descended from the Creek tribes who lived in Southern Georgia and Northern Florida. Under Spanish rule, many Creeks settled in the region, intermixing with the Choctaw tribes, escaping the rule of the English just to the North. The word “Seminole” grew out of the corruption of the Spanish word cimarron, or runaway. Their most sacred ceremony is the Green Corn Dance, witnessed by few outsiders.
Early Seminole Indian Tribe
During the 1700s, the Seminoles became an increasingly independent and separate group from other Creeks, forging a new culture. Many African-American slaves also ran away to Florida and were accepted by the Seminole Indians. As Spanish control over Florida waned and American colonies began to appear, the Seminoles were able to establish their own independence, which came into conflict with the United States, who acquired Florida in 1819. During this process, many cross-border raids into Georgia sparked the attention of the US Government and Florida governor Andrew Jackson. The First Seminole War ended when Jackson invaded Seminole territory and forced many of the tribe to relocate in the Everglades.
Seminole Indian Wars
The Second Seminole War (1835–1842) grew out of Seminole resistance to President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. Osceola emerged as the military leader of the Seminole, but the eventual victory of the US forces led to the creation of a reservation in southwest Florida, but many Seminoles were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River, in present-day Oklahoma.
When doing a research paper on the Seminole Indians, consider using the following sources:
- an online reprint of the 1866 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (Cooley, 1866)
- a letter, originally appearing in the December 1961 issue of the Seminole Indian News, from the Executive Council of the Miccosukee Tribe of Seminole Indians pleading to all Americans for help in protecting Seminole life ways
- Covington, J.W. (1993). The Seminoles of Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
MacCauley, C. (2000, originally published 1887). The Seminole Indians of Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.