Friday, August 5, 2011

Florida History: Seminoles embrace dirigible flight in 1929, see 'haunts'

Posted by Jane Feehan

The story below, in language we’d consider way off the politically correct charts, describes a trip Seminoles were about to take on a Goodyear dirigible in 1929 over the Everglades. While amusing  and poorly written, it also sheds light on Seminole customs. And, it points to something else: This flight was borne of the desire to help bridge the cultural gap between the white man and Seminole. 

Florida Seminole leaders saw their favorite hunting grounds, the Everglades, from the air for the very first time Thursday …

They also had their first ride in a dirigible, when the Goodyear Zeppelin Corp. baby blimp Defender took them over the area. But disappointment lurked in the eyes of Cory Osceola, chief of the east coast Indians. He was banned by tribal law from the trip. By the law of the Florida redmen, he is forbidden to take any chances with his life or do anything out of the ordinary routine of living until his infant son is able to walk. The six-month-old papoose is just getting about on his hands and knees.

The six who made the trip were surrounded by about 125 eager-eyed members of the tribe, with papooses in the majority just before the big gas bag rose in the air. Cory Osceola, who had listened attentively to the pilot as he explained to him in English the workings of the craft, addressed the crowd telling them in the Seminole tongue what he had learned of it.

During his address there were frequent ejaculations of surprise and a deep interest was manifested as he was halted in his talk to be questioned by some brave.

Chestnut Billie, one of the youngest in the party who made the flight was included because of his air-mindedness and his avowed intention of learning to fly.
Miami News, Dec. 26, 1929, p. 10.

Tags: Florida history, Seminole history, Everglades

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