The Plight of the Black Seminoles

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The Plight of the Black Seminoles Scattered throughout the Southwest and into Northern Mexico, descendants of the Black Seminoles and Maroons are living in this modern world today. Over one hundred years ago, the U.S. government seemed determined to systematically eliminate the Native Americans and manipulate the descendants of the Black slaves. That imperialistic attitude allowed the policies of the U.S. government to treat groups of people with less respect and concern than they treated their livestock. To understand the plight of the Black Seminoles one has to look back in history to slavery days of the Southern states, and at tribal changes of the Florida Natives. At the beginning of the eighteenth century Native Americans from various groups went into Spanish Florida, establishing a new identity as Seminoles (Littlefield 7). The Seminoles broke off from the Creek tribe. The word Seminole means, "one who has camped out from the regular towns," or "runaway" (Markowitz 213)." Black slaves also fled to the open territory of Florida. The Seminoles who owned slaves did not do so in the traditional plantation style of bondage. The Blacks (who were also known as Maroons) were not subordinate to their chiefs (Laurence 30). The distinction between runaway or, slave, blurred and eventually vanished. Blacks who lived among the Seminoles were useful as interpreters because they spoke English, or some other European language, and they soon learned the Seminole Muskogean dialect. The slaves who fled to Florida as adults knew the ways of whites and could often predict behavior of a particular situation. Thus the association between Blacks and Seminoles was one of affection and mutual respect (Laurence 14). Intermarriage inevit... ... middle of paper ... ...ribes, and the unfavorable conditions of the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, but they managed to survive. The fact that they were not completely eradicated and still have descendants living today is a testimony to their tenacity, bravery, and enduring strength of spirit. Works Cited Champagne,Duane.Chronology of Native North American History.Detroit,1994. Laurence,Foster.Negro-Indian Relationships in the Southeast. University of Pennsylvania,1931. Littlefield,Daniel.Africans and Seminoles from Removal to Emancipation.Westport,CT:Greenwood,1977. Markowitz,Harvey."Trail of Tears".American Indians.Pasadena, CA.Salem Press,1995. Mulroy,Kevin.Freedom on the Border.Lubbock,Tx.Texas Tech,1993. Porter,Wiggens,Kenneth.The Black Seminoles.University Press, Florida,1996. Waldman,Carl.Who Was Who in Native American History.New York, NY.Facts On File,1990.

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