Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians

By Dorothy Downs | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Nineteenth-Century Dress

Fears of further unrest proved justified by events in the nineteenth century, which also had a great impact on dress. Highly acculturated Indian men and women adopted the clothing styles of whites, along with the associated techniques for the production of apparel. Indian interpretations of what they considered impressive dress, based on European military or other styles and materials, increasingly became the mark of leaders.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson appointed Colonel Benjamin Hawkins to the position of agent of the United States to the Creeks and Seminoles. His mission, as defined by the American government, was to acquire Indian land and "civilize" the Indians by teaching them the ways of white men so that they might eventually be assimilated. The Indians became alarmed when Hawkins initiated an unpopular policy of encouraging Indian women to develop their spinning and weaving skills, which would allow them more independence. Furthermore, the men were to learn agriculture, which they saw as an effort to undermine their traditional male hunting roles. Indians, once free to roam and hunt, were expected to settle on small farms owned by the male head of the household, an arrangement that would have upset the traditional matrilocal living pattern.

Moreover, in the years leading up to the War of 1812, the British were eager to incite the Indians against the Americans. After all, Indian allies had fought for the British in both the North and the South along the frontier. Now they turned to Tecumseh, a Shawnee prophet living above the Ohio River, who shared their hatred of Americans. Tecumseh, whose mother was a Creek, toured the Southeast preaching his nativistic message, which urged pan-Indian unity against American policies aimed at

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Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 Evolution of Early Dress 10
  • Chapter 2 Nineteenth-Century Dress 36
  • Chapter 3 Twentieth-Century Dress: Patchwork 83
  • Chapter 4 Fingerweaving 120
  • Chapter 5 Beadwork 132
  • Chapter 6 Shoulder Bags 152
  • Chapter 7 Silverwork 179
  • Chapter 8 Basketry 194
  • Chapter 9 Dools 211
  • Chapter 10 Pottery 220
  • Chapter 11 Men's Work: Village Construction and Wood Carving 229
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 284
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