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Seminole Indian Culture Facts
- The name Seminole originates from the Spanish word cimarron which roughly translates to "wild one" or "runaway".
- Today most Seminole Indians speak English. There are a few who also speak Miccosukee or Creek (The native languages of the tribe).
- These American Indian people are well known for their beautiful woodcarvings, beadwork, and baskets.
- The Seminoles obtained food by farming, hunting, and fishing. Their crops included corn, squash, and beans. They hunted deer, rabbits, wild turkeys, and other game.
- The Green Corn Dance is the most important ceremony in Seminole culture. At this ceremony the Indians express gratitude to the creator for providing them with food. The gathering is known for having many hours of stomp dancing.
- Legends have historically been an important part of Seminole Indian culture. A popular Seminole legend called "Men Visit the Sky" is about five men who wanted to visit the sky in order to see the Great Spirit.
- Originally the tribes houses were built on the ground out of wood and plaster. As they migrated southward into the Everglades they started building their houses on stilts, about three feet above the ground, in order to protect themselves from swamp animals and floods.
- Today there are two Seminole tribes, the Florida Seminoles and the Oklahoma Seminoles. Each tribe has its own laws and government.
- Florida State University (FSU) and several high schools in Florida name their sport teams the "Seminoles".
Seminole Indian History Facts
- Before contact with European settlers Seminole warriors main weapons were bows and arrows, and tomahawks. In the 1700's they also started to use guns which they acquired from European settlers.
- The Seminole tribe originally inhabited northern Florida but gradually moved further south into the Everglades for protection from the expanding population of the United States.
- Many slaves who escaped (or were freed) settled near Seminole villages. These so called Black Seminoles paid the tribe for protection.
- A series of wars dubbed "Seminole Wars" began in 1817.
- Future president Andrew Jackson led the U.S. troops during the First Seminole War and the Second Seminole War.
- After a huge expense and years of fighting most of the vastly outnumbered Indians were forced to move west of the Mississippi River. Most settled in what is now Oklahoma. Very few (estimated at around 500) retreated into the Everglades. The United States troops did not pursue this small number.
- The Seminoles were the first Indian tribe to open a casino on Indian land. They were followed by many other tribes in what is now a very lucrative industry.
Seminole Indian Clothing Facts
- Traditional Seminole clothing was fairly simple. Men generally wore breechcloths and women wore wraparound skirts made from palmetto.
- Shirts were rarely worn by the tribe, but in cool weather poncho-style shirts were worn.
- Both men and women wore moccasins on their feet.