The Seminoles of Florida

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University Press of Florida, 1993 - 379 pages
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"The most comprehensive account of the history of the Florida Seminoles yet undertaken."--John K. Mahon, author of History of the Second Seminole War The history of the Seminole Indians in Florida embodies a vital part of the tragic history of native and white American conflict throughout the entire United States. Drawing on widely scattered scholarship, including the oldest documents and recently discovered material, Covington gives us a complete account of the Florida Seminoles from their entrance into the state almost three hundred years ago, through the great chiefdoms of Micanopy, Osceola, and Billy Bowlegs, to the current political reality of democratic elections. (In fact one woman, Betty Mae Jumper, was elected tribal chairperson in both 1967 and 1969.) After moving into the peninsula from Georgia and Alabama, the Seminoles fought three wars against the whites. By 1858, at the end of the final war, 90 percent of the tribe had been killed or forcibly removed to Oklahoma. Those who remained in chickees in the swampy grassland of south Florida comprised one of the last tribes in the country to retain cultural independence from whites. With the drainage of the Everglades and extension of highways and railroads into the area, the land the Indians lived on without legal title became prime real estate, and the Seminoles were evicted by the new white owners. Covington brings the history of the tribe into this century as he describes the beginning of Seminole relocation to reservations, their participation in World War II, the inroads of Christianity in the 1940s, and the changes in tribal education, government, and agriculture and business ventures in the past three decades.

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