The Seminole Indians Essay Research Paper The

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The Seminole Indians Essay, Research Paper The Seminole Native Americans are the indigenous people of southeastern North America. They are comprised of various tribes, instead of being a single, unique people. “As the United States is a nation made up of people from many nations, the Seminole is a tribe made up of Indians from many tribes.” (Garbarino-13). The ethnic diversity results from their interaction with other southeastern tribes such as the Calusa, Yuchi, Timucua, Cherokee, Apalachicola, Chickasaw, and Creek. It also accounts for their Muskogean language, which derives from the Hokan-Siouan. The Seminole are most closely related to the Creek. In fact, they shared the same culture until the Seminole fled from Georgia to Northern Florida during late 18th century.

Under the Creek, they felt hampered and desired freedom. Thus, they fled with hopes of independence to Florida, owned by Spain. There, they encountered the Apalachee and Timucua tribes, both of which spoke the Mikasuki Language (Seminole Indians 290). Hence, they were named the Seminole, meaning .runaway x in Creek dialect. Negro and Indian slaves joined them in their quest for freedom, as they fled during the power struggles between American colonists and Native Americans (Seminole 626). They eventually obtained complete freedom, but they still retained many customs of their original culture. However, their atmosphere and surroundings still had a great impact on their culture and lives. Depending on the availability of resources, they adapted to suit their environment. For

instance, their diet, clothing, and homes all depended on the climate, the animals present, and the availability of natural resources. Soon, these factors even began to influence culture. .The environment even influenced the language and rituals. Due to this involvement with Nature, they revered all of Nature. x (Garbarino 13) The Florida landscape consisted of varying textures: dense forests, rocky mountains, and fertile valleys. The more powerful tribes tended to control the auspicious, profitable, fertile valleys while the weaker tribes controlled the inauspicious forests or mountains ( The valleys great fertility is what amounted to its greatness. It allowed for the agriculture of essential vegetables including beans, maize, and squash in great

quantities. Fortunately, the Seminoles were able to obtain fertile land. This, however, was not their main source of nourishment. They hunted, gathered natural fruits, and fished alongside streams. There was a great abundance of game in their territory for all their needs. ( Prior to their arrival in Florida, Spain had claimed the land that Juan Ponce de Leon had named Florida. The territory started from the southernmost edge of Florida, to the Chesapeake Bay, to the Mississippi River. Meanwhile, conflicts arose with the unsettled Native Americans and there were constant warfare. As a result, Juan Ponce de Leon was injured and soon died. This was a major victory for the Native Americans that helped to maintain their land. (Garbarino 33) Following his

death, conflicts with the Spanish steadily decreased since there was no longer an urging quest for land. The Native Americans exposure to foreign people had devastating consequences. As a result of their contact with the Spanish, some Indians contracted diseases like fatal pneumonia and smallpox. The highly contagious diseases spread quickly and quietly, leaving them defenseless against their silent, invisible adversary. Many tribes population dropped steadily as aliens continued to settle. (Lepthien 5-6) There were several battles to establish control in Florida, in the territory of the Seminole, by conflicting European nations. In 1564, the French established a settlement in Florida, which was soon destroyed by Spanish forces. Such battles between the French, Spanish, and