Who Were the Seminoles?
As many of the tribes of the time were made up of small remnants of other tribes, so were the Seminoles. The language spoken was the Muskogean, also spoken by the Creeks. At one time the Seminoles were part of the group known as the Lower Creeks, living in Georgia and Alabama. Around the year 1750, because the Creek Council voted to return the slaves who were living in Creek country to the plantation owners who claimed them, the Lower Creeks withdrew and moved into Florida, taking the blacks with them. The blacks, who were called Freedmen, were given the right to form their own communities and govern themselves under the protection of the Lower Creeks.
In return the blacks paid tribute to the Indians by way of produce and livestock, much as the serfs had done in Europe.
The Creeks called this group of runaways, Seminoles, which meant "the ones who broke away." With other groups in Florida, such as the Hitchite, Cheaha-Alabama, Yuche, Mobile, Pensacola, Nachez, Ocheese, Mekusukey, Clusa and Apalache, the Seminoles became a loosely knit organization called the Seminole and were recognized as a separate tribe in 1775 by the Federal Government.
- Tuskoma Brown Miller, ESTE-CATE, 1982
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