Seminole


Seminole
/sem"euh nohl'/, n., pl. Seminoles, (esp. collectively) Seminole, adj.
n.
1. a member of any of several groupings of North American Indians comprising emigrants from the Creek Confederacy territories to Florida or their descendants in Florida and Oklahoma, esp. the culturally conservative present-day Florida Indians.
2. either of the Muskogean languages spoken by the Seminoles, comprising Mikasuki and the Florida or Seminole dialect of Creek.
adj.
3. of or pertaining to the Seminoles or their languages.
[earlier Seminolie < Creek simanó·li wild, runaway, alter. of earlier and dial. simaló·ni < AmerSp cimarrón; see MAROON2]

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North American Indian people living mainly in Florida and Oklahoma, U.S. Their language belongs to the Muskogean language stock.

The name Seminole is a Creek derivation of the Spanish word cimarrón, meaning "wild." The Seminoles split off from the Creek in the later 18th century and settled in northern Florida, where they were joined by runaway slaves, Indian and black, from Georgia. They lived more by hunting and fishing than by agriculture, constructed shelters of thatched roofs supported by poles, and wore tailored hide clothing decorated in bright-coloured strips. In an effort to stem white encroachment, they fought a succession of wars (see Seminole Wars). Together the Seminole number about 15,000.

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      city, Seminole county, central Oklahoma, U.S., east-southeast of Oklahoma City. Settled in 1890 as a trading centre for farmers and stockmen, it was known as Tidmore until 1907, when it was renamed for the Seminole Indians, on whose land the site was located. The city's population grew from about 1,000 to 35,000 in one year after the discovery of an oil field in 1926. Of the thousands of wells established at that time, only a few were functioning at the turn of the 21st century. The city's industries include petroleum refining, oil-field equipment, and the manufacture of clothing and sewer pipes. Seminole State College (formerly Seminole Junior College) was established in 1931. Inc. town, 1908; city, 1926. Pop. (1990) 9,251; (2000) 6,899.

people
      North American Indian tribe of Creek origin who speak a Muskogean language. In the last half of the 18th century, migrants from the Creek towns of southern Georgia moved into northern Florida, the former territory of the Apalachee and Timucua. By about 1775 these migrants had begun to be known under the name Seminole, probably derived from the Creek word simanó-li, meaning “separatist,” or “runaway.” The name may also have derived from the Spanish cimarrón, “wild.”

 The Seminoles located their new villages in the Everglades, a patchwork of dense thickets and wetlands that provided protective isolation from outsiders. There they were almost immediately joined by African, African American, and American Indian individuals who had escaped from slavery, as well as others attempting to avoid the bloody power struggles between European colonizers and other Southeast Indians (Southeast Indian). The tribe generally welcomed these newcomers. The Seminole economy emphasized hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods; they also grew corn (maize) and other produce on high ground within the wetlands. Homes included substantial log cabins and, later, thatched-roof shelters with open sides known as “chickees.” People typically wore long tunics; by the late 19th century, Seminole clothing was often decorated with brightly coloured strips of cloth.

      In an effort to stem further colonial encroachment and to avoid forced removal to the west, the Seminoles fought a succession of wars (Seminole Wars) in 1817–18, 1835–42, and 1855–58 (see Seminole Wars). As a result of the First Seminole War, Spain ceded its Florida holdings to the United States. In 1832 a treaty proposal that would have obligated the Seminoles to move west of the Mississippi River was rejected by a large portion of the tribe. The Second Seminole War was one of the most costly of the U.S.–Indian wars, with military expenditures exceeding $20 million. In 1838 Osceola and other tribal leaders agreed to meet the U.S. military under a flag of truce; the American forces broke the truce by imprisoning the men, and Osceola died in custody some three months later. Fighting continued sporadically for another four years, but the tribe eventually surrendered. The people were required to move to Indian Territory ( Oklahoma) and were resettled in the western part of the Creek reservation there. A few Seminoles remained in Florida.

      In Oklahoma the Seminoles became one of the Five Civilized Tribes, which also included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw, all of whom had been forcibly removed from the southeastern United States by the federal government in the 1830s. For three-quarters of a century each tribe had a land allotment and a quasi-autonomous government modeled on that of the United States. In preparation for Oklahoma statehood (1907), some of this land was allotted to individual tribal members; the rest was opened up to nonnative homesteaders, held in trust by the federal government, or allotted to freed slaves. Federal policies effectively dissolved the Oklahoma tribal governments in 1906; changes in these federal policies resulted in the revitalization of the tribal governments in the mid-20th century.

 For some 40 years, those Seminole who stayed in Florida endured hardships related to their resistance to removal. By the close of the 19th century, however, relations with neighbouring Euro-Americans had improved. During the first half of the 20th century, tribal members regained some 80,000 acres of land from the U.S. government; in 1957, a century after the end of the Seminole Wars, the Seminole tribe of Florida regained federal recognition. Over the next 50 years the tribe developed economic programs ranging from citrus production to tourist attractions and infrastructure, including an ecotourism park, a tribal museum, a casino, and a private airstrip.

      Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 27,000 individuals of Seminole descent.

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Universalium. 2010.

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