Tribal Origin: Muscogee (or Creek) and Hitchiti
Native Name: Ikaniúksalgi, means 'peninsula people'
Home Territories: Florida and eventually Oklahoma and Mexico
Languages: Muscogee and Hittite
Enemies: Fought hard against the United States
Originally part of the Creek tribe, the Seminole migrated to Florida in the early 1700s, when the Southeast region was under Spanish control.
They lived in houses called chickees, which had no walls and were built on stilts, with a wooden floor and thatched roof. The Seminoles grew corn, beans, and squash and supplemented their diet through hunting and fishing. They were also known for their skill at woodcarving and basketry.
The presence of runaway slaves in Spanish Florida and escalating raids across the U.S.-Florida border by both white settlers and the Seminoles led to a series of major conflicts, known as the Seminole Wars, beginning in 1817. During the First Seminole War, General Andrew Jackson and his forces invaded Florida, killing Seminoles, destroying their villages, and capturing Spanish forts.
The Spanish ceded Florida to the U.S. in 1819. The Seminoles' resistance to the U.S. government's attempts to relocate them to reservations, first by treaty and then with the enactment of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, led to the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).
Led by Osceola, the Seminoles used guerrilla tactics to fight the vastly larger U.S. forces. The tribe surrendered when they faced starvation after U.S. troops destroyed their crops and villages; many Seminoles were forced to move to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).
The few Seminoles who remained, isolated in southern Florida, continued to face settler encroachment and fought back, but were defeated in the Third Seminole War (1855-1858).
The use of the Seminole name and symbols by Florida State University (FSU) was negotiated directly with the tribe. They are exempt from any lawsuits due to this agreement.
Modern Seminole Tribes Today: