Friday, September 30, 2011

Florida History: What White Men Wish for the Seminoles (1919)

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Posted by Jane Feehan

A front page article from the Tropical Sun (Nov. 28, 1919) discusses sentiments held about Seminoles in the 1900s.  It provides a snapshot of race relations and the status of the Seminoles, the only American Indian nation never to sign a peace treaty with the U.S. government. According to the writer, there were three white viewpoints: big hearted, selfish, and narrow minded. Excerpts follow in italics:

The big hearted … wish that the Seminoles may advance along civilized lines until they become good Christian citizens of the State of Florida.

The selfish … wish the Indians to be a personal asset.

The narrow minded … wish for the Indians that they may prosper, that they may have  more advantages, so long as they don’t pass them in education, culture and business.

Some people still think the Federal Government wishes the Seminoles to move to Oklahoma, which is not true. It is almost impossible to find a place to locate them to Oklahoma, even though it was desired to take them there. Conditions in that state are not the same as they were forty years ago. There are 119,175 Indians in Oklahoma and a total population in the state of 2,202,081.

The future of the Florida Seminoles is in Florida and the duty of their welfare will eventually be one of Florida’s problems, the same as other citizens of the state.
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Tags: Seminole history, Florida history, South Florida history, film research

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