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We Are Still Here

Panel 12

Although scholars are still working to understand what happened to all of the Mocamas, Guales, and Yamasees who lived in Northeast Florida, it is likely that at least some moved west and south to join people who would self-identify as Seminoles and Miccosukees in the twentieth-century. Called the “Florida Indians” for much of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a diverse group of Indigenous people established new homelands in old Apalachee (Tallahasee and St. Marks regions) and Alachua (Gainesville area). Many were ethnically diverse Creeks who relocated to Florida beginning in the late 1710s. Others were Indians from Florida proper, including Yamasees, Guales, Apalachees, Calusas, Tequestas, and perhaps Mocamas.

The “Seminole” Indians adapted to different waves of European colonizers, including the Spanish, British, and Americans. Where European colonizers had long failed, the Seminoles were able to establish fruitful agricultural and cattle ranching systems in particularly difficult terrain. Ironically, this, and the presence of Africans in and near Seminole communities, prompted the U.S. to wage a series of wars against the Seminoles from 1813 to 1856. By the 1840s the few hundred Seminoles who had survived American efforts to forcibly remove all Indians from the South—including campaigns led by Andrew Jackson—had migrated into the Everglades.

Over the course of the twentieth century, they continued to protect their political and cultural sovereignty in part through economic innovation from tourism to cattle ranching to casinos. Today there are two federally-recognized Indian nations in the state of Florida: the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. There are also a number of unrecognized descendant communities, including the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation and the Oklevueha Yamassees.

Please visit the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation to learn more about the Seminole people and their cultural and historical ties to the Southeast and Florida.

Images

We Are Still Here Panel This panel describes the enduring presence of the Mocama people in the traditions and memory of their descendants. Source: Department of History and Department of Anthropology, University of North Florida Creator: Dr. Denise Bossy, Dr. Keith Ashley, and University of North Florida students. Date: 2020

Metadata

“We Are Still Here,” Indigenous Florida, accessed June 20, 2024, https://indigenousflorida.domains.unf.edu/items/show/84.