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The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily there and in Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creek from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in the early 18th century.
- The word Seminole is a corruption of cimarrón, a Spanish term for “runaway” or “wild one”, historically used for certain Native American groups in Florida.
- The Seminole are closely related to the Miccosukee, who were recognized as a separate tribe in 1962.
- After an initial period of colonization in Florida, during which they distanced themselves increasingly from other Creek groups, the Seminole established a thriving trade network during the British and second Spanish periods (roughly 1767–1821).
- The tribe expanded considerably during this time, and was further supplemented from the late 18th century with the appearance of the Black Seminoles – free blacks and escaped slaves who settled in communities near Seminole towns, where they paid tribute to the Native Americans in exchange for protection.
- However, tensions grew between the Seminole and the United States to the north, leading to a series of conflicts known as the Seminole Wars (1818–1858).
- The most important ceremony is the Green Corn Dance, which is celebrated largely as it is among the Creeks; other notable Creek-derived traditions include use of the black drink and ritual smoking of tobacco.
- The Florida Seminoles reestablished limited relations with the U.S. government in the late 19th century, and eventually received 5,000 acres (20 km) of reservation land in Florida.
- However, the recognition caused conflict with a group living along the Tamiami Trail, who did not feel appropriately represented; they sought federal recognition as the Miccosukee Tribe, which they received in 1962.
- The Seminole intermingled with the Choctaw and other few remaining indigenous people there, some recently arrived as refugees after the Yamasee War, such as the Yuchi, Yamasee and others.
- This dynasty lasted until 1842, when the US forced the majority of Seminole to move from Florida to the Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma) after the Second Seminole War.
- Seminole tribes generally follow Christianity, both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and their traditional Native religion, which is expressed through the stomp dance and the Green Corn Ceremony.
- This was exacerbated in 1950 when some reservation Seminoles filed a land claim suit against the federal government that was not supported by the Trail Indians.
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