Title: Dr. Charles Fairbanks
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SEM 165A

INTERVIEWEE: Dr. Charles Fairbanks Transcribed: October 7, 1977
DATE: A Pauline Lussier

B: Let me talk first about the ethnohistory that you put together.

F: Well this was the defendants report of the pre-history and history

of Florida Indians as a part of the Indian Claims Commission case

and I was hired by the United States Department of Justice to provide

a report on what Indians were in Florida, what happened to them, what

is a Seminole, basis of claim to lands in Florida.

B: Did they prevail on you at any time to present a case favorable to

the U.S. government or did you go as a 5cltan4 afrn;a' ~ a 3-*-r

F: Well the Indian claims case like most American legal situations is

based on an adversary, he defendants have a lawyer and the plaintiff

has a lawyer and so on, I can't really say that they ever did make

any substantive issues of a favorable position for United States

government,they did do such things, my original draft I repeatedly

referred to the Seminole nation; well they made me take that out

because the Seminole nation wasn't legally constituted until 1854 as

a result of some Oklahoma treaty or War Department action or something.

so the lawyers have a- and these were all lawyers not anthro-


B: B ou thk they wanted you to stick to the letter of the law 0h0r t4s Cokdn

ua& s heehr the U-S.government had not stuck to the letter of the law?

F: Yea, well a whole lot of things. The first question of course was,

What lands did the Seminole control in Florida-at the time of the definitive

treaty shortly afterA1823, shortly after the organization of the territory

of Florida?A hat was the question, what did they have at that time.

They and of course most people are aware that the Seminole weren't

SEM 165A
Page 2 ptl

F: aboriginal long time inhabitants of Florida. Do they have any claim

to Florida? well the decision of the Indian Claims Commission has been

that they did have and that they did not receive proper compensation

when they gave it up in these various treaties, Moultrie Creek in 1823,

Paines Landing and others so that deserve compensation.

B: My perception of the ethnohistory that you wrote is that Seminoles were

lucky in that most other aboriginal groups have been desa a by parti-

cularly the English and to deme extent by the French and the Carolinian

people coming down, and that they existed as a hogp maybe of remnants

of all those tribes.

F: Not really a hg- pge. there were two major groups:the central Georgia

ex-Creek Indians who were here in the Alachua area under the leadership

of Cowkeeper principal and the Tallahassee area people in the British

Dominion in Florida under Tonabee who came from the lower Ghataehee-b

and then)after the Creek War of 1814-Andrew Jackson against the Creeks

in central Alabama/-the leaders of that Creek War and their families

refugee down here to join Creek relatives that were already here, but

in the meantime from 1720 or thereabouts when there began to be appreciable

bodies of Indians once again in North Florida they were pretty remote

from the organized towns of the Creek and along the Chattahoochee than

and in central Alabama.so there relationship was not as formal as it had

been when they were back in their original homeland in central Alabama
and along the Chaftahoochee. I don't really see them as a og podge but

as town entities at that time.

SEM 165A
Page 3 ptl

B: How many people would normally live in a town .th Seminoler 0w

F: They were very diffuse, they weren't a highly structuredlaid out

town,they were a cluster of farm settlements from certainlythe time

of the American Revolution onward. and)maybe a couple of hundred in-

dividuals at the most would be considered as a town, -E4 P like

a rural settlement in south Georgia today, Plains Georgia is, well

it does have a main street and a railroad station and so on but it's

a cluster of farmsteads more than anything else and the Seminole and

many of the Creek by 1800 had taken up that kind of settlement pattern.

And then of course after the second Seminole War when they'repushed

down into the Everglades they hid out in small family band camps. and

in that case, probably fewjif any of them had 25 individuals in them.

B: Was the Ohickee a later development if they got sub-tropical area?

F: Yea, when they came down here into North Floridathey developed new

housing styles partly borrowed from frontier American housing styles-

stick and clay chimneys and stuff like this.and then when they were

pushed down into the Everglades in a real new environment, sub-tropical,

wet, hurricanes and so on they had to develop.a new house style and that

was the Vhickee.

B: Quite a unique adaptation.

F: Yea, and of course now they're pretty largely giving it up. Last time

I was on the reservation area there were very few chickees that were

actually being occupied.

SEM 165A
Page 4 ptl

B: What does it do to their cultures to move from an enclosed dwelling

4IcYj to sub-tropical open dwelling and then the housing 46,l6

that went on in the early '70's where they were trying intensively to

get them out of their chickeep and into concrete dwellings?

) Well of course,without the pressure of the Indian Bureau and so on their

change in house style was a result of other changes that were already

taking place in the culture. In the after the Second Seminole War their

loss of population down to I to A hundred individuals the fact that they

were hiding out the United States Army meant that even if they hadn't

been threatened with hurricanes and I don't know how long it took them

to find out about hurricanes down there hut even if they hadn't been

hiding out,they couldn't afford to put a lot of time effort into elaborate

housing. and it wouldn't have suited the sub-tropical situations I

think the changes that were taking place in Seminole family life in that

period were caused by other things and the result was a change in house

form. Now certainly there are going to be changes occurring in family

life in the present concrete block house situation.but I would think that

thAr going to b auselin large part by other factors rather than just

the change in housesare gonra be caused by the fact that the children

go to county schools inlGlades County and so on and are being rapidly

acculturated learning English, learning a lot of juvenile behavior patterns

that come from other Florida culture and so on Their participation in

the.truck garden industry there as field hands and so on the services

through the various federal aid programs, aid to dependent children,

public health, and so on and so on are going to change patterns.they're

SEM 165A
Page 5 ptl

F: going to reduce infant and child mor lity.there probably will be;

for a while larger families with more living children in them.

B: Is that going to be difficult, well not thp educational possibilities

are as hard for them as they were,but the people like to stay in their

home areas; is it going to be ka-for them having larger families

with nothing to do and little work?

F: I think the fact that they are going to be tied down to a large capital

investment, whereas if there were opportunity for work or hunting or

whatever it would have been easier to abandon a chickee and move to another

hammock.a t's going to be a little more difficult and I think I

seem to see that already happening in Brighton.and I think with the

Miccosukee reservation with a more permanent situation there I think

it's going to be happening there. ad of course the iesnnfluence

of parents, particularly mothers in directing child development, child

behavior and so on.,the fact that the kids are being b ise2into county

schools axdtmokolee, Morehaven and so on is a major influence, what's

the influence of T.V a lot of the houses down there now have television atM

so they're participating in Florida, American non-Seminole culture more

and more.

B: What's been the effect of the breakdown of/control the elders, the

reduction of scratching and that sort of thing?

F: Well one thing of course has been an increase in juvenile delinquency.

they are a marginal people,and to the same extent that children of

SEM 165A
Page 6 ptl

F: migrant farm families in that area show a proportionately high rate

of juvenile delinquencytso many of the Seminole children show a.high

rate, there has been something of a problem of gasoline sniffing among

the young people)which I'm sure is a non-Seminole trait.

.: Let me ask.you a question about alcoholism. I've thought that maybe

their problem and most American IndianJ problems with alcohol is a

matter of mores of not knowing that you don't take 3 shots s-i in

a row rather than a propensity or a problem in their biological system

that can't tolerate alcohol. What's the myth)the mythology of the

drunken red man.

:! WelL they do get drunk all right, and I've had experiences that I

suppose everybody else has had with Indians-that they do not know
how to manage drinking. Up until 1954/ome such date there were

federal statues that prohibited giving, selling or anyway providing

alcohol to the Indians, which like myself during the prohibition period

it was a forbidden thing and therefore attractiveand you didn't have

a chance to learn to drink, these certainly are problems.of course the

major problem for alcoholism among any group whether American Indians

or Anglo-American teenagers in our public schoolsis that they are

problem ridden, they have stressand they try to evade those tensions

and stress and problems by drinking or by pot or hard drugs or whatever

and if whe family community life improves so that they aren't

subject to this stressthey're not going to drink as much. I had a whole

SEM 165A
Page 7 ptl

F: bus load of Cherokee Indians wh4 get roaring, fighting drunk once

after they lost the ball game to a Creek team-and it was very clearly

traditional,they hadn't played stick ball with the Creeks for 150

years and they lost the game and everybody is down, they got a hold

of quite bit of alcohol and they got drunk and they started fighting,

it could have happened to University of Florida Gators. Under stress

many people drink, I've known individual indians that could havihandle!

alcohol as well as I can,and I don't pretend to be an expert on the

subject of alcohol I think it's andin some situations where the stress

has been relievedysometimes by conversion to a prohibitionist faith,

church, they don't drink.

B: Speaking of church, some of the people khae 20 indians I've talked to,

maybe 4 talked with me more than 15 minutes,they were verywithdrawn

and didn't care to talk about themselves or their people. Do you think

the church, Christian mores have perhaps inhibited to people I mean

they're veryvery concerned with the concept of sin thaR f you don't

have the money to work, if youon't have the money to provide for your

family and there's nowhere to go hunt they look on it as a sin.gr if

you get drunk or jf you have an alcohol problem they look on it as a

major sinand'they're always walking around feeling damned.it seems

like a really roughand after this were gkGes see positive stuff,I

promise youa

F: They're in a stress situation, htey are a discriminated against, impoverished

minority who feel threatened by the expanding white Florida culture

SEM 165A
Page 8 ptl

F: around them.and they tend to resist this by withdrawing now and I

think this is the major reason why it is difficult to find Seminole

who will talk to you in any depth and so on. The conversion to

Christianity probably dates in any numbers from the 1940's when

it occurred at two other times or two other things were happening, gne

that Seminole speaking 0 klahoma preachers began to come into Florida

and preach and sing songs and they sing, I don't know whether youkSve

attended a church down there or not, but they sing and preach in either

Miccosukee or Mi sqgeor Cow Creekand they made converts, but this was

also a period during the war years when a lot of people were in the

army, labor was shortSeminole were drawn in te various work situations

in contact with other Floridians and so on,those two things came together,

I don't know that I would want to say which is a major factortthough

I'm inclined to believe that it was the leadership of these Seminole

speaking Baptist missionaries from OAklahoma that really made the con-

versions. and it's my impression that at the present time probably a

majority of Florida Seminole are Christian.

B: Am I correct therin characterizing them as unique among North American

tribes in their retention of some of their old culture and some of

their old lifestyles, in many ways they seem less acculturated than

other tribes w_-tortr 0 a4_ Vi _i d-

F: Well many of the things that we consider so distinctively Seminole
such as the Seminole patchwork jackets and soiof course are derived

from Anglo-American they only date back to early 1900's, it is true

SEM 165A
Page 9 ptl

F: that in language, in family organization, the organization of the

family around the women)descent through the mother's line and so

on, they are less acculturated than many other Indian groups, I wouldn't

say they were unique;but particularly the Florida Seminoletbecause

of their withdrawal from consistent contacts with white Floridians1

have managed to maintain a great deal of their aboriginal way of life,

particularly the Miccosukee.

B: Why have they chosen not to take part in the land settlement?

F: Well they say that they don't sell land for money, that they want the

land to use in an Indian fashion.and they regard it, it seems to me,

as betrayal of the land in their trust to take a financial settlement

for it.

B: What,can you,I don't knowwhat is the total financial reparation!that

the government has offered to the Seminoles A Mi ccU e orida

I've heard 30 million but I don't know.

F: I thought it was 14 million.

B: Well that would be a total of 16 and 14 would be 30. so that's my third


F: It temporarily V-hit a road block. the Indian Claims case was decided

that yes the Seminole were gyped out of land then they hired a series

of experts in land property values, real estate type people to evaluate

how much was coming to them, then the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided

SEM 165A
Page 10 ptl

F: how much of that was due to the Indians' lawyers who carried all of

this on credit for all these years-all the court action, they hadn't

been paid cause the Indians didn't have it, and then there was the

question of how this would be distributed and it involves two groups:

the Florida Seminole and the O4klahoma Seminoleand there are more

Oaklahoma Seminole 'than there are Florida Seminole/ so they would

like to see it divided on a population basis,*nd at least many Florida

Seminole of course say) wel;-were the guys that still stayed herewye

should get more than a per capital division, of course everybody hopes

that it will not be distributed as cash per capital that it will be

held in trust for not only this generation but for future generations

to benefit by it.

B: How have the Seminoles and Miccosukees afforded to erect the tribal

headquarters that they have?

F: Well they have some funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, they also

have some funds from various general, public relief systems, work in-

centive programs and so on. I think most of it comes from escrow funds,

that is funds put in trust for the tribe, from rightaways, for the Tapiami

Trail,[Sunshine State Parkway maybeATniot sure of that, power lines,

telephone lines across reservation lands, and some of that has been

held in trust for quite a white and now is available-and when they

organized as a corporate unit under the 1935 Indian Reorganization Act,

then these funds could be made available as a rotating fund for building

houses, for building craft/ sales places and these things that would

have a permanent value.

SEM 165A
Page 11 ptl

B: I've been told that o&'e the two tribes organized,particularly

the Seminoles that of over 200 members) that only a relative handful<

15 or 20 actually voted on organizing along the lines the government

had advocated. Do you know anything about that?

F: Well I have somewhere in my records the Indian Service Report of

the vote and so on, I think it was higher than that really, Tom King

had a paper in recent HiStnorial 0Qu-art y on leadership and so on,

there are a relatively small number of Seminole that have been involved

in(and of Miccosukee too, that have been involved in because over the

reservation years and so on they have developed this characteristic
us Jr
withdrawal from things, don't pushand so there are relatively few of

them who are able to take part in activity situations.

B: From their point of view would you say there's a basis for disavowal

of some of the agreemenI and organization' of the tribe, I've been

told that some of the people just don't,the Indians don't agree that

that was,that if they had not organized)say corporately that people

would have left them alone forever. Is that naive?

F: I'm afraid it is. We do not know very much about how many factions

there are among the Seminole in Florida, what:these factions represent,

how many people there are in each faction.and I suspect that they don't

have altogvqer permanent membership on the acculturative faction the

resistant faction, the in between or various grades and so on. Certainly

the Indians wh hae had more experience with other Florida)recognize

that they're here that they can't wall off their part of the Everglades,

that if they want a reasonable way of life they've got to come to some

SEM 165A
Page 12 ptl

F: sort of understanding with the civil authorities and the general
population of south Florida, they can't fight a Mi_ T,_ -)

tolerant and informed interaction between state, County, federal,

education business interests and so on that we-wll be able so

organize the interact between the Setminole and other Florida so

that they can have a reasonaIy stisfactory way of life and get

some of the benef if of public medicine,public transportation, public

educationand so on with out giving up the values that they see is e


SEM 165A

INTERVIEWEE: Dr. Charles Fairbanks
Page 13 ptl

a tolerant and informed interaction between state, county, federal

educational, business interests and so on that we will be able to

so organize the interaction between the Seminole and other Florida

so that they can have a reasonably satisfactory way of life and get

some of the benefits of public medicine, public transportation, public

education and so on without giving up the values that they see as


B: Can you tell me what some of those values arebecause they won't.

F: Well)I don't know that I am qualified to speak for the Seminole, but

as I see it they want a unified family life largely under the leadership

of the mothers, the men want a dignified and rewarding, that is, adequately

paying jobs and so on, they would prefer if these could be in traditional

activities and of course it isn't really old tradition it's a couple of

hundred years old, herding a cattle they see is one of them, outdoor

activities and so on~hey don't see wage labor in factories, garages

and so on as being a rewarding way of life, and they want the open not

the cities, that crowded Gold Coast.

B: What has contact with them been like since the trial in which you

wrote the ethnohistory and heard the defendant?

F: For some of them on the Brighton Reservation and soo o I think it

was cautious but friendly but I had the feeling that they didn't identify

me with the United States witness. Those of themjsome of the more

informed ones) and in one case I know that one of the tribes' lawyers

pointed out to one of them)that he was the guy that was the justice

SEM 165A
Page 14 ptl

F: department witness and a cooling of relationship,which I think

is understandable, .ur adversary court situation: I testify for

the driver of one car.the other driver is not happy about me, so

that's the kind of thing that's happened. There is this-since

1965 or thereabouts, I think there's been a general greater participation

and willingness to meet Anglo-Floridians and talk with them,and there

wasn't before that.f is they participate more in the business and

industry and so on in South Florida.

B: _1r ro1o, foo, now draws quite a large- 'unr4 they were

really pushing that when I was down there, matter of factthe twenty

people I talked to.everone mentioned the date and the concept of the

rodeo and that was primarily -except for Joe Dan Osceola and Judy

Osceola and Lee Tiger and a guy named Billy Cypress who's a new vice

chairman of/Miccosukee-they were the only four who really talked to

h-in in depth.

F: I'm not sure that these tourist attraction things are particularly

rewarding for the Seminole. I think we, well I know one cabinet

meeting in Tallahassee when we're discussing Seminole problem and

several people make statements "Oh well we can build up their tourist

craft souvenir business and these shows and so on like the Cherokee in
Western North Carolina; wellyin that year which was '57 or '58 per

capital income from tourist activity among the Eastern Cherokee was

475 dollars.you can't live on that, it looks good but it do (n't
pay factory wages, doesn't prevailing wage.
pay factory wages, doesn't prevailing wage.

SEM 165A
Page 15 ptl

B: Their amusement parkswent down the tubes due to a problem with

building codes which they had never been made aware of which was

a sad thing.

F: Well, certainly understanding between Seminole and non-Seminole will

be fostered by these tourist activity and that-I would think mayFbe

is a greater value than the cash income that would come from it, what

other sources of income do they havebut it never can amount to very

much. They participate, they have a tribal cattle herd in the cooperative
and so, again I'm not sure that this is the best use of their lands.

perhaps truck farming and so on.certainly cattle farming in South

Florida for a long time was the big industry,I'm not sure that unless we

get more freezes like this winter that-truck farming, beans, tomatoes,

watermelons and so on might not be a better source of tribal income.

Yo Yu know that cattle farming was a justification for channelizing the

_p: _IS_ _River which is now screwing up like Okeechobee too, that

whole Taylor Creek-FI'b:";' .' area is just the pits now. They've

identified that 9AUg, L identified that as the prime nutrient feeding

in 'to lake Okeechobe. now.

F: Well of course ang business, the truck farming wanted canalize and

drain muck lands/around Lake Okeechobee and so on. We're gradually learning

that we have to go slow on these massive modifications of the environment.

And Pf course)this is one of the things that the Seminole and other Indians

have maintained for a long time that we Indians did not have this

damaging impact on our environment. These TVA or TV ads of the Indian

crying at the sight of polution are TV propaganda, the Indians did have

SEM 156A
Page 16 ptl

F: an impact aadesirable impact on their environmentbut they didn't

have as great an impact as modern industrywhether this is industrial

factories or industrial farms has on the pesticide, erosion, pollution(

of one kind or another- and they see it as a threat what they think is

a desirable way of life and what many non-Indian Americans think is a

desirable way of life, green grass and trees and wild animals.

B: What do you think of the acceptance of the Indian values by strief

white youth over.'the last 10 or 15 years, the growing of long hair,

beaded braided hair, home cottage crafts, herbal medicines.

1 WellI think they represent in the first place a rejection of many other

standards of twentieth century non-Indian America and i4an attempt to

find a solution.they're usually very superficial, you're not living

like an Indian just because you have long hair and a beaded vest or
Aoccas i 42^
meeesein type shoes, but again they're easy things to copy rather than

the core things of Indian life.

B: Which would be the spiritual orientation to the land and that sort of


F: That is part of it.a family)strong family organization, family and kin

control behavior and activity, you work in a group of kinfolk rather than

for some unknown boss and unknown owner and so on)and the denigration of

purely commercial values which of course makes it difficult to compete

in a commercial society.

B: Anything else you'd like to add just something maybe I haven't drawn out

that you think is important.

SEM 165A
Page 17 ptl

F: I think there are a number of reasons why the Seminole are one of

the most interesting Indian groups in the country and I think that

we have a lot to gain in our knowledge about the way in which human

societies, cultures work by knowing more about the Seminole, but it

shouldn't be that it is just that we study the Seminole to find out

things for our advantagethat as we understand how the Seminole culture

works)that we will be able to help the Seminole as well as ourselves.

and that's why many of us are interested, not just the Seminole but

other Indian groups in ethnohistoryin archeology and so on.

B: Will the Seminole and other groups accept that though. Will they accept

your perception of what is healthy?

F: Well it may not be a question of the Seminole accepting, it's a question

of will the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Department of
J Pd so ao)
Agriculture, Mr. Carter will they accept what we can offer them as a

result of study of not only the Seminole but other Indian groups? as

we better understand how culture works, it isn't that we want to control

another people but we simply want to be able to say if you do it this

way this is what is going to happen.and say it in such a way that they

can understand that they have a choice whether they get this result or

that result, so it's not that we want to control, most anthropologists

I don't think do want to control and change, either our culture or anybody

else's, but we simply want to be able to give advi e as to what's going

to happen if you do this.

B: Sounds good, I really appreciate your time.

SEM 165A
Pagel8 ptl

B: your talking about the of a charismatic chief as opposed

to the Mico.

F: Osceola of course was born in Alabama and was the offspring of an

Indian woman and a traitor, or is believed to be what little we know

about him, he came into Florida as apparently a teenager a juvenile,

with his mother as part of the refugees from Andrew Jackson's Creek

War of 1814, he was temporarily captured while camped in the vicinity

of the Sauwanee River crossing more or less Fannin Springs area.and

released and so on. I'm sure that a good deal of Osceola's opposition

to American, white Americans were the trauma of the Creek war which

he lived through as a teenager or a child and then the Florida years

were again a period of oppression and persecution by United States Army

and settlers and so on. He, while he inherited his position through

his mother, as all Seminole and Southern Indians did, he did not in-

herit a possibility of being a civil and religious leader, Mico, but the

Creeks and the Seminole in Florida had a regular pattern by which out-

standing leader-type individuals could become war leaders, and Osceola

certainly seems to have been deeply opposed to Anglo-Americans. He

certainly seems to have been a charismatic leader, he was able to gather

followers behind him and lead them and so on.
did y d'(1 ks
B: How d6 you reach, how do.youJcommunicate with a group of wandering bands

to consolidate any support?
4,1-+rtA41 cf JtourtIne
F: Well in the reservation period)between treaty.m1t.re Creek and the

outbreak of the Second Seminole War they weren't that nomadic. There

SEM 165A
Page 19 ptl

F: probably were bands of maybe a couple hundred individuals move out

of, in Osceola's case this general Alachua area down into the reservation
ISnnd t id\dI-,
south of Ocala,.there was a clan organization that was not confined to

a particular band so that he would have clan kin in other bands who would

be accustomed to cooperate with him with whom he could communicate on

a family basis and so on, and he was one of a number of Seminole

emergent leaders who was strongly opposed to the federal policy for

the Seminoleand so on.

B: Why did he get more tha o Pad us 4aMS 4 -

F: I don't know.

B: Is not Wildcat also a WAr Chlr

F: Yea, there were maybe a half dozen or so, certainly Osceola was one

of the outstanding leaders, he was more aggressive, he had skirmish

ability or ability to lead g iena- warfare, and to a certain extent

I think the newspapers of the time Niles Regiser and so on, picked

up him as an outstanding figure. Most of the people whoAnew or met

him agree that he was an outstanding personality type, he was a leader,

B: Was his father a white man?

F: We believe so.

B: Would that have made him more aggressive, I mean is there an ethnological


F: Well many of the leaders, particularly of the southern tribes, Creek,
Cherokee and so on in the 18th and early 19th centuries were Mestiz and

there very often is a hybrid vigor to hybrid physical types. But another
factor, and I would think a more important factor that he had some
factor, and I would think a more important factor i that he had some

SEM 165A
Page 20 ptl

F: experience with two cultures. His Indian mother culture and to the

extent that he had any contact with his father, the father was resident

in the Creek country for some years at any rate and so on, so he could

benefit by some knowledge of both cultures, so there is a cultural

hybrid vigo5 as well as a biological hybrid vigor as in hybrid corn

and hybrid cattle. And Anthropologists, of coursebelieve that id2

cultural factors are more important than biological factors, so I

would think it was his cultural hybrid vigor that doesn't explain

altogether his position-but it does explain some of it.

B: Do you know anything about what his training would have been as a

young man t/the Seminole band?

F: Training from other Seminole men his wifes brothers and clan kin and

so on in hunting, fishing and so onjat least some training in the

men's activities.in the ritual and so on: though he was not a medicine

man)a curer; training in his mothers' family of the myths and legends,

the oral history of the Creek and Seminole, and I'm sure tales about

Creek War of 1814 were told again and again,and this is a general pattern.

it!a kin learning situation. How he acquired his ability to lead and

plan military raids is, how does anybody lead learn this?welllwe teach

it at West Point and Arnpolis but---

B: We-were wipeing outifWest Point graduates there for a long time.

F: Wellbecause he was fighting on his own land and so onthere are many

ways in which the second Seminole War resembles the Viet Nar tr,

atrocities, guerilla warfare, organized military units at a loss to

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F: compete with the local people on their own ground and so on.

B: One last question then I'll leave you alone. be here forever.

How would they have provided for the young people and old people

in these roving bands, what did they eat, how did they survive through

the Second Seminole War?

F: Well we have some accounts, they often were reduced to eating roots
particularly the rua i -r zamia root and so on which is poisonous

has to be processed and soaked and so on; other roots vegetables, nuts

and so on; moving as rapidly as they had to move, hunting probably

was less rewarding, fishing, collecting land tortoises and so on.they

were pretty hungry many times and in many casesthey gave up and agreed

to go to Oklahoma because they were starving.

B: Your ethnohistory points outpthroughout the history of Florida,Indian

bands 5ould arrive at-fort, particularly San Marco, saying we ' ou! o kro'w

starved leti have some foods that's in such direct contradiction

to the nobel red man sort of idea where the person can stalk and

maintain himself.

F: Well living by hunting can be pretty precariouson a day like this

it would pretty darn difficult to find anything to kill out there

in the woods even where it was thereand fishing the same way, fishing

does tend to be a little more regular, but there are days when the fish

just don't bite. Once you have exhausted the edible roots and so on

in an area you've got to move-well if you have to move so far that you're
in an unfamiliar territory how will you find the patches of zarTa or

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F: huckleberries or whatever,or it's just the wrong season the birds

have eaten all the berries. (

B: Were there any slV6 In 3' a b A the-8 y-yyu got the Seminole lifestyle

and go to the roots for it?

The black slaves are a major part of the Seminole history, runaway

blacks first from the Carolina colony) had been coming to Florida as

early as 1700 or a little before,the Spaniards had prohibitions

against chattel slavery in many cases)and they also didn't see any

reason why they should do the encroaching British a favor so they

refused to return them to Carolina. By the time the Seminole came

in here there were a number of free blacks in the area, most of these

were encouraged or facilitated to form separate communities, camps,

towns under the protection of the Seminole but not held as chattel

slaves. Some of these blacks interacted quite markedly, they advised

them on how do you deal with the whites and so on. Abraham was an

advisor during much of the Seminole period, a runaway black from either

Georgia or Carolina.some Creeks and Cherokee again acculturated mestizo

individuals held chattel slaves and worked them on plantations like the

frontier white. I don't think any of the Florida Seminole did that.

During the Second Seminole War, the onset of the Seminolei-War, the

removal time, there were hoards of slave catchers from Georgia and

Carolina and Virginia even,down hereqand when they tried to take possession

of these free blacks and return them,or just sell them in Georgia and

so on, the Seminole objected very violently to this,and this was a con-

tributing factor to the Seminole moving out of the camps at Fort Brooko

Tampa and refusing to go,because of the mistreatment of the blacks,they

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F: felt a kinship which was contradictorythe whites in the Carolinas

Georgia and so on had fostered antagonism between blacks and indians

as a method of controlling the Blacks, but here in Florida, particularly

the Seminole seemed to have felt a sympathetic unity of objectives and

so with these runaway blacks.

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