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The Seminole Tribe of Florida is Federally Recognized, But Never Signed A Peace Treaty

Updated on July 5, 2015

Seminole Garments and Accessories

Museum of the American Indian - Heye Foundation (MAI), 1916-1989
Museum of the American Indian - Heye Foundation (MAI), 1916-1989 | Source

Controversy and the Facts

© 2011. Patty Inglish MS; researcher in Native American Nations, North/South/Central American Natives and global Indigenous Peoples 1970 - 2011, ongoing.

While some readers of Native American histories state that Seminole Nation or the Seminole Tribe is not an official tribe or nation with a real name, they are both incorrect and guilty of repeating false and hurtful information.

Since early in our nation's history, the USA has been home to not only one, but two separate and related Seminole Nations, They both officially Federally Recognized as tribes by US government definition and are receiving federal funding and aide accordingly. One Seminole group is located in Florida, where it began, while the second lives in Oklahoma, to where it was driven from its larger group in Florida by three full branches of the US military. This is an exciting story, discussed below.

The fact is irrelevant to today's official statuses that the Florida Seminoles were originally independent individuals or "outcasts" from other tribal groups, even incorporating Black Africans. All this is very interesting and important to history, but the Seminoles are indeed actual tribes in two real locations. In fact, all of the Native peoples in North America were here long before anyone officially recognized them as nations, tribes, bands, and other smaller groups.

Native North Americans define themselves and their societal groups without any help from outsiders. Additional groups define and name themselves and seek Federal and State Recognition every year in the USA. The argument about whether Seminole Nation and Tribe is a real group with a real name is a moot point.

Denying the facts above, which are substantiated by tribal websites, individual Native interviews, and US Federal Indian Bureau records is akin to denying the Holocaust. Further, Native Americans are not interested in the non-native argument about where the name "Seminole" originated.

Likeness of a Florida Seminole on a card from the clipper ship Seminole in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War.
Likeness of a Florida Seminole on a card from the clipper ship Seminole in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War. | Source

Two Nations or Tribes, Two States: All of It Is Real

show route and directions
A markerSeminoles and the Everglades in Florida -
Everglades, FL, USA
get directions

B markerSeminole Nation of Oklahoma -
Wewoka, OK 74884, USA
get directions

Yat'siminoli is Seminole (The Free People)

The Muskoki Tribe of Alabama was called, erroneously, "Creeks" by white settlers in the late 1700s and a Creek War was fought by Americans from 1813 - 1814. Simultaneously, the War of 1812 - 1814 was fought on the Great Lakes. Many Native Americans were killed in the first war and many Americans were killed in the second war. Certain of my Native-blood relatives were involved in the War of 1812 - 1814. From all this I learned that the Muskoki Nation was forced southward by the US President, finally reaching Florida and joining with another group of Natives.

For centuries, Native Peoples lived in Florida, but joined together as a large group or nation in the early 1800s, including many Muskoki.

They called themselves yat'siminoli or The Free People, since they had resisted both the Spanish and the Americans and anyone else that interfered with them. Their name in English is Seminole, from the Native word yat'siminoli.

Lithography from the 1825 painting from life by Charles Bird King.
Lithography from the 1825 painting from life by Charles Bird King. | Source

Strong Spirit of First People

War for the Seminoles after 1812 - 1814 continued - The First Seminole War occurred in 1814 - 1818. A second "Indian" war occurred in 1835 in Florida, requiring the US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps against the Seminoles. A few thousand of these Natives were forced west, where they landed in Oklahoma to form their own nation.

The third war against Seminoles occurred from 1856 - 1858 and was an absolute failure in removing the Seminole Tribe from Florida. There they flourish with their own businesses today. The USA military fought with guerrilla warfare three times in two centuries: 1) in the American Revolution under General Francis Marion, The Swamp Fox; 2) against the Seminioles as they learned it from their Seminole opponents in three wars: and 3) again in Vietnam. This warfare style is effective, respected, and feared.

The Free People were not to be destroyed. They never signed a peace treaty with Spain or the USA and never gave up their sovereignty in either of two US States thus far. They are to be admired for this. Their motto is In God We Trust.

Flag of the Seminole and Mukoski in Florida
Flag of the Seminole and Mukoski in Florida | Source
Flag of the Confederate Seminoles in Oklahoma
Flag of the Confederate Seminoles in Oklahoma


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    • profile image

      Phyllis Priddy 9 months ago

      I lived in Florida for many years, and this article gave me a lot of information I never knew. Very interesting. The Seminole Indians culture has always fascinated me. They are a proud and great nation.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from North America

      geno, you have a LOT of history! I will keep my eyes open for any information and post it here.

    • profile image

      geno stancle 2 years ago

      all of my grandparents on both sides where a great mix of Cherokee. but I believe some of them may have been a mix of seminola as well.some of the folks that thought they were Cherokee,was a seminola from when some of them got caught in routed to Oklahoma on the trail of almost sure of greatgrandfather was chief amos Matthews he was on the trails but I couldn't find anything on him,from the Cherokee nation my mothers other greatgrand father was Charles Bronson.he was half white from around Utica,indanola,Jackson Mississippi,area.his wife was Lucinda mack who was an indian woman.which is my dads mothers mom.but no info..also forgot to mention my mothers dad he was a ceo man believed to have alpache bloodlines and French and german.his born nam was woodson olgesby,born in little rock arkansa around 1908..any info on these people wuld be appreciated more then you know...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      That's OK; I find so many unexpected things in history, it's no problem. Hope you feel better, too. I allergic to all those drugs.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Actually Patty- I have been on medication for an injury - I believe the French actually tried to make Indians slaves...I'm so sorry - I knew I shouldn't be commenting while on those muscle relaxers - it relaxed my brain muscle! Omg! If you ever have to take a drug called soma - don't plan to drive anywhere:)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      I'll have to read more about the French slaves and add their history to this.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Patty - sorry I read the other hub first! Now I see you are very well aware the Seminoles never signed that peace treaty:) I'm so impressed! Thank you for another interesting hub!

      The Seminoles retreated to the swamps because the white men were afraid to go there. They helped the black and French slaves too - they banded together. Love these articles of yours!!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Thanks for the interesting hub, Patty ... the original people's of America have always fascinated me. I do think it is a bit sad however that they seem to have taken on the white man's God rather than their own deity, whoever that was for the Seminole people. The Native American gods always seemed to me to be much more spiritual somehow.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      As a quarter native "American Indian" and "anglo," I too have a keen interest in all things "Native American." Another great article. Flag up!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      How about DESCENDANTS of white settlers? lol

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      I enjoyed reading about Native Americans as a child, began researching in high school and when I found out of my Iroquois lineage, it was even more fun.

      I am SO surprised that the more researchers and the general public don't go to the source (Native Americans and ancestors of white settlers) and find out what really occurred in the past and what is up today. Some people do that with medicine too - ask everyone except a doctor or nurse. I don't know why. Perhaps they want confirmnation of a "comfortable misinformation." A book could be written about that.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Oh, Patty, you always give me so much pleasure with you hubs about the Native Americans. I know so little about them and yet I am so fascinated. I think they have so much knowledge and wisdom passed on from generation to generation. I wish the white man would listen and learn.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 6 years ago from Miami, US

      Absolutely fascinating! Thanks for posting this, I just came home from the Nanticoke Powwow, and it was beautiful as always. I appreciate the fact that your hubs about these topics are informed and educational. And yes- it degrades all human history to portray any society as utopian.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      AND - FYI to all - I am not saying that all Natives were or are peace angels. They waged wars and bloody massacres against one another and the whites. They owned slaves in the Southeast and East. We all fall short of the Glory of God, but we can learn and grow better and be forgiven - we can forgive ourselves and our ancestors.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      @satice_j -- I've a lot of information of my own geneaology and histories dating back to before 1700 and much farther back on the Native side. Yes, my extended family LIVED IT.

      The classroom is a small first step to learning about The Peoples. Individuals take one rumor or misinterepretation and weave a coarse blanket that scratches out blood from those whom we throw it upon, and then it falls apart, leaving the long-term scars.

      I am taking off that blanket and operating on the scars.

      Thanks Earth Angel, dear friend and support; and schoolmarm - keepo visiting and bring your guests to see your favorite things.

    • schoolmarm profile image

      schoolmarm 6 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting! I have visited the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum many times and I always bring my out-of-state visitors there. I just love learning about their history from someone who knows. Thanks!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 6 years ago

      Dearest Patty! You always present information I had no idea existed! Thank you so very much! I have the utmost respect for First Nations ~ their strength, their connection to Mother Earth, their loving compassion toward all living things! We have much to learn from those we have harmed for centuries! Blessings to you for keeping this issue in the forefront! Earth Angel!

    • satice_j profile image

      satice_j 6 years ago from via the Bronx, NY

      I keenly read the words of your hub and drank them in. My great grandmother was a Seminole Native American and it has only been after her death that I have begun reading and learning of the rich ancestry/heritage she gave me simply by my being born. I appreciate you educating the masses correctly who would prefer to stay misinformed or who want to correct you on your dispelling the myths. Much of my research meshes with some of the lnks you gave, but much of it does not. Thank you for this splendid Hub! Continue spreading the truth!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      That is interesting, Cardisa -- Some Mohawk and Zulu ceremonial clothing and head pieces are also almost exactly alike. Facscinating.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      I realize that these tribes and nations have a rich history. I am particularly impressed with the clothing and instruments in the museum how similar they are to that of some tribes in Africa.

      It is also interesting that these people never gave up their sovereignty. Thanks for the lesson Patty.

    • profile image

      --- 6 years ago

      People, especially college educated and grad students should learn to see past old wives' tales and accept the truth told by indigenous people themselves about themselves. Why won't they do that? Why do they take a piece of something and make a whole other history of it?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      @femme and Flora - Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Native America is a never-ending topic!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      You have some misinformation.

      By their own testimony and on their own website, the Florida Seminoles defined themselves beginning in the early 1800s ONLY as YAT'SIMINOLI, meaning The Free People, and also included 1) people of several small or dwindling nations/tribes and 2) independent individuals with no tribe any more at all. They combined as YAT'SIMINOLI, which is their name that made them a Tribal nation. It is absolutely not a place; it is their name.

      Other names and explanations of names for Seminoles that are said to mean a place and not a people are all "white" rumors put forth in the past to diminish the people that the white settlers could not conguer and this misinformation should be ignored as a diminishing strategy, a form of putdown abuse. The Seminole could not be conquered and their Motto is In God We Trust. This is the caliber of people that abusers try to put down. They will fail in their attempts to do so.

      I'd enjoy reading a Hub about the similarities of German and Tribal behaviors, if you are willing to write one! I know few Germans and the few in my lineage did not exhibit tribal behaviors in the chronicles. Thanks very much.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      As a person who went to FSU I know the Seminoles are alive and well. But I thought Seminoles were Cherocheke (sp?) Indians driven into the swamps hence the name Seminoles. The name refers to the place they live and not a separate indigneous population. Also I would like to point out Germans were also in the USA long before the English as well and they have many of the same tribal behaviors as the Indians.

      Great Hub.


    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago

      I enjoyed the information in this hub so much!

      I'm Anglo & Tribal, and unlike several cousins who were raised in Oklahoma, I had no exposure to the Tribal scene, nor did I go to school on a res, as they did. I'm only now independently learning and discovering the rich history of my ancestry, and suddenly, there your hub was!

      In reading it I found a great bit of knowledge to add to the ever growing and cherished collection in my heart.

      Thank you for sharing! Much appreciated!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Thanks for teaching me about this tribe. I knew very little about them before reading this article.