The Seminole are a Native American people originally from Florida. Today, they live in Oklahoma and Florida, and comprise three federally recognized tribes: the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, as well as independent groups.
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.
Once a month, every man, woman and child in the tribe gets a check for $1,000 – up from $300 a year ago. The money is generated from the tribe’s gaming tables, with revenue divided equally among members after expenses.
Unlike their dealings with other Indian tribes, however, the U.S. government could not force a surrender from the Florida Seminoles. The U.S. declared the war ended – though no peace treaty was ever signed – and gave up.
The Seminoles of Florida call themselves the “Unconquered People,” descendants of just 300 Indians who managed to elude capture by the U.S. army in the 19th century. Today, more than 2,000 live on six reservations in the state – located in Hollywood, Big Cypress, Brighton, Immokalee, Ft. Pierce, and Tampa.
Almost all of the tribe’s $525 million in annual dividends flows from the Seminoles ‘ seven Florida casinos, which are worth an estimated $10.4 billion.
Most tribes require a specific percentage of Native “blood,” called blood quantum, in addition to being able to document which tribal member you descend from. Some tribes require as much as 25% Native heritage, and most require at least 1/16th Native heritage, which is one great-great grandparent.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are two of three federally recognized Seminole nations, along with the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. There are six Seminole Tribe of Florida reservations across the state of Florida.
The original homelands of Florida’s Creek and Miccosukee Indians were in the northern part of the state, but since the native tribes of southern Florida had been conquered and shipped to Cuba by the Spanish, the Seminoles retreated into that area, where most Seminole people are still living today.
Today, the Shakopee Mdewakanton are believed to be the richest tribe in American history as measured by individual personal wealth: Each adult, according to court records and confirmed by one tribal member, receives a monthly payment of around $84,000, or $1.08 million a year.
In a June 8, 2000, guest editorial in the Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Durham wrote that “many Seminoles painted themselves, were great warriors and did indeed use tomahawks, guns, knives, sharpened spears and any other weapons that were available to them. They rode horses for hunting and war.
All Indians are subject to federal income taxes. However, whenever a member of an Indian tribe conducts business off the reservation, that person, like everyone else, pays both state and local taxes. State income taxes are not paid on reservation or trust lands.
Why did the Seminoles welcome runaway slaves? An example of guerrilla warfare because the Seminoles made a quick surprise attack. At the end, the U.S. allowed the remaining Seminoles in Florida to stay in their land.
Others believe that the Seminole name comes from the Spanish word cimarron, meaning “wild men” or “ unconquered.” The Indians may have been given this name because they had escaped from slavery in the English-controlled colonies to the north.
After 20 years of British rule, however, Florida was returned to Spain as part of the second Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution in 1783. Spain’s hold on Florida was tenuous in the years after American independence, and numerous boundary disputes developed with the United States.