Seminole Indians


Seminole, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They separated (their name means "separatist" ) from the Creek in the early 18th cent. and settled in the former territory of the Apalachee in Florida. They gradually grew in strength, absorbing many runaway black slaves and some members of the Apalachee tribe. While still under Spanish rule, the Seminole became involved in several major confrontations with the United States, particularly in the War of 1812 and again in 1817–18. In the retaliatory expedition of 1817–18, Gen. Andrew Jackson invaded Florida with more than 3,000 men to punish the Seminole. By the Treaty of Paynes Landing (1832), the Seminole were bound to move W of the Mississippi River within three years. Most Seminole, led by Osceola, refused to go and prepared themselves for resistance.

In 1835 began the Seminole War, which proved to be the most costly of the Indian wars in which the United States engaged. Lasting for nearly eight years, it cost the lives of thousands of Seminole and 1,500 U.S. soldiers, as well as at least $30 million. Finally defeated in 1842, the Seminole consented to move to Oklahoma, where they became one of the Five Civilized Tribes. A few Seminole remained isolated in the Everglades. In 1990 there were about 15,500 Seminole in the United States, mostly in Florida and Oklahoma.

See J. K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War (1967); J. H. Howard, Oklahoma Seminoles (1984); M. S. Garbarino, The Seminole (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Seminole Indians: Selected full-text books and articles

The Seminoles of Florida By James W. Covington University Press of Florida, 1993
Seminole Voices: Reflections on Their Changing Society, 1970-2000 By Julian M. Pleasants; Harry A. Kersey Jr University of Nebraska Press, 2010
Unconquered People: Florida's Seminole and Miccosukee Indians By Brent Richards Weisman University Press of Florida, 1999
Seminole Music By Frances Densmore United States Government Printing Office, 1956
Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture By S. Elizabeth Bird Westview Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Florida Seminoles and the Marketing of the Last Frontier"
Seminole Burning: A Story of Racial Vengeance By Daniel F. Littlefield Jr University Press of Mississippi, 1996
The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Southeast By Theda Perdue; Michael D. Green Columbia University Press, 2001
Our Georgia-Florida Frontier: The Okefinokee Swamp, Its History and Cartography By Albert Hazen Wright A.H. Wright , vol.1, 1945
Librarian's tip: Part VI "The Seminoles and the Seminole Wars to 1838"
All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life By Winona LaDuke South End Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Seminoles: At the Heart of the Everglades"
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