Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book review: The Seminole

The Seminole by Liz Sonneborn, Watts Library, A Division of Scholastic, New York, 2001.
The Seminole, in a real way are a combination of many Native Americans, and escaped slaves who fled to Florida.  They had an agricultural life style, living close to their farms to keep them safe.  They were involved in three wars against the U.S. government.  The first took place before Florida was even part of the United States.  Never the less, Andrew Jackson lead a U.S. force into Florida.  This was precipitated by plantation owner claiming the Seminole had stolen their slaves.  Jackson gained a victory, the Seminole headed south, leaving their best farm lands behind them.  Shortly after, Florida became a part of the United States when Spain sold the territory.
When Andrew Jackson became president, his goal was to remove the Seminole from Florida to the Indian territories in Oklahoma.  Many gave way and relocated.  Others refused, and this started the second Seminole War.  Osceola lead the Seminole resistance.  However at a negotiation he was captures and thrown in prison, where he would die from illness.  Cooacoochee then lead the Seminole.  Their defeat only took time, and more Seminole were sent west.  However some still refused, moving deeper into the Everglades.  There economy now became dependent on hunting as it was more difficult to raise crops.  They also ate wild plants.  Here they remained for some time, until surveyors entered the area.  Billy Bowlegs did not trust them, and attacked.  This lead to the third Seminole War, with even more being sent west, Billy Bowlegs among them.  However some stayed.  There are now two Seminole Nations, in the east and in the west.  The western Seminole had further problems.  At first they were not given territory, but later negotiated an area.  However they were torn in the Civil War.  The Seminole officially supported the Confederacy.  Some refused and traveled to Kansas to join the Union soldiers.  
Today both nations have their own governments, and economic bases including gambling.  They also include appeal to the tourist industry with museums, and in the eastern nation, alligator wrestlers.

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