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    - Interview with Morton H. Silver, Legal Counsel to the Sovereign Miccosukee Seminole
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The Seminoles of Florida
by
Minnie Moore-Willson

A Heritage Classic, (Copyright, 1896, 1920; Copyright, 2003, Heritage Books, Inc.)
p
p. 118 - 125
(The following excerpts are reprinted by permission of author's representative.)


PART SECOND
THE PRESENT CONDITION AND ATTITUDE OF THE SEMINOLES

p. 54

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At the close of the war, a few bands of the Indians refused to submit to banishment and, concealing themselves in the vastnesses of the Everglades, made their removal an impossibility.  This part of the tribe, according to their traditions, belonged originally to the Aztec race and for this reason they claim a preeminence over all the tribes of Aborigines of America.


RELATIONSHIP TO THE AZTECS AND EASTERN TRIBES

p. 120

Continued from page 119

his wanderings, from the plains of Mexico, we meet him to-day in the confines of the mysterious and weird Everglades.

Reaching Florida in 1750, under the name Seminole or Wanderers, his history verges into a singularly distressing drama and forms a tragical chapter in American history.

Tracing their lineage, as we may, to the Aztecs of Mexico, the student must find in their usages and customs links that connect their present history with that of the ancient tribes.

In this remnant, proud as the old Montezumas, may the scientist and antiquarian find a history teeming with interest, while the novelist may revel in story, both real and legendary - the most romantic of Indian life that has ever been written.

If we accept the Le Plongeon theory of prehistoric Mexico, as well as Professors Holmes and Seville's research of Mexican antiquities, we must note the relationship between the early Central American civilization and the Ancient Egyptians; and that the builders of the pyramids and temples of Mexico and Yucatan were closely allied with the architects of the Cheops.

After the conquest of Mexico by Cortez in 1519-20, the Muskogee Indians left Mexico and gradually traversed the country till in 1620 we find them in Alabama, where they added other bands to their ranks.  The British name them Creeks, from the many small streams that traversed the country.
Thus the great Muskogee tribe of the Mexican
 


p. 121

Empire vanquished by Cortez became one hundred years later the Creek Confederacy, from which branched the Seminoles.

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The Similarity existing between the ancient Egyptian principles and that of the Aztecs is conceded by scholars, and when the Florida Indian follows so closely these old religious rites, with the theory that the Florida Seminoles are traceable to the mighty Aztecs, may we not feel a pride in these red children of the forest homes and while it is yet possible preserve this almost forgotten remnant?

To-day the student may study, in the swamp fast-


p. 122

nesses, the history of an ancient race, through the present-day Seminole.

Around the hereditary chief Tallahassee is the authority for the government of the Cow Creek band.  He is the honored chieftain, whose duty it has been to teach to the younger generations the traditions of his ancestors.  "My grandfather, old, old man, tell me, me tell my boys."  The stories never diverge - the same to-day that were told one hundred and fifty years ago, and different slightly from the teachings of the vanquished Muskogeeans of the Mexican Empire.

In their weird camps, by a glimmering light from the camp fire, is instilled into the youth the laws of the old turbaned tribe, laws startling in the rites they contain.  A brief reference to a few of these observances must convince that there is at least a keynote for a chapter that must prove both interesting and valuable to science.

In the head dress of the Florida Indians, oriented in its effect, one quickly recognizes a perfect imitation of that as worn in 1800 B.C. as shown in the statue from Tel Loh (Showing early Akkadian type).

Passing through the realms of history, covering a period of 3,000 years, in 1563 we find Le Moyne's delineations of the turban, now worn by Seminole Chieftains.  Likewise might the dress of old Tallahassee in his chieftain regalia be mistaken for the costume of the patriarchs in the days of the Pharaohs, when the long tunic embraced by the


p. 123

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p. 124

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There tribal organization being a socialist and communist order, it is not their policy to encourage individual land holdings.

Socialism finds its greatest example among the Seminoles and they realize freedom in a greater degree than can possibly be found in any community governed by man-made laws.  They do not violate any teachings of the tribe and are honorable and upright in their dealings with one another and equally so with the white people with whom they come in contact.  Their law allows of individual occupancy of land and the individual rights are respected, but the Indian is not allowed to acquire title.


The Seminole, like his Aztec ancestors, shows an honorable contrast to the other tribes of North American, in the treatment of the women.  No severe agricultural labor is imposed upon them and the consideration shown them by the men would do credit to the high civilization.  . . ... . .....  .. . . .. ... ..
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