• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Main














Group Title: Doc. - 67th Congress, 2d session, Senate ; no. 102
Title: Florida Seminole agency
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055646/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida Seminole agency Special report of the Florida Seminole agency
Series Title: 67th Cong., 2d sess. Senate. Doc. 102
Alternate Title: Special report of the Florida Seminole agency
Physical Description: 6 p. : incl. tables. ; 23cm.
Language: English
Creator: United States -- Office of Indian Affairs
Spencer, Lucien A
Fletcher, Duncan Upshaw, 1859-1936
Publisher: Govt. print. off.
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1921
 Subjects
Subject: Seminole Indians   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
General Note: By Lucien A. Spencer, special commissioner.
General Note: Presented by Mr. Fletcher. Referred to the Committee on printing August 19,1921.
Funding: Senate document (United States. Congress (67th, 2d session : 1921-1922). Senate) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055646
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000127730
oclc - 01613490
notis - AAP3722
lccn - 21027514

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
Full Text






FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY


SPECIAL REPORT


of the


FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY


PRESENTED BY MR. FLETCHER
SAUGUST 19, 1921 .-Rderred to the Committee on Printing


1921


P~IW C ~--llrBEP~EWI~iP~Pyl~~


c. &


4" -
9w,

































SENATE RESOLUTION 187.

Reported by Mr. MOBES.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
.December 12, 1921.
Resolved, That the manuscript entitled "Special Report on the Florida Seminole
Agency" be printed as a Senate document.
Attest:
GEORGE A. SANDERSON,
Secretary.









SPECIAL REPORT OF THE
FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY.
By Lucien A. Spencer, Special Commissioner.

TRIBES.
The population of the Florida Seminoles is made up of two distinct
tribes, speaking different languages and having very little in common.
The northern tribe, locally known as the Cow Creeks, numbering
115, speak the Muskhogean language, while the southern tribe,
known locally as the Big Cyress Indians, with a population of 339,
speak a dialect language kown as Miccosukee. The population,
made up of the two tribes, is scattered over a territory comprising
9,000 square miles, in which there are no roads and practically no
white population.
During the Indian wars the Cow Creeks and Miccosukees maintained
a defensive alliance, but did not mingle socially, and to this day
intermarriage between the two tribes is of rare occurrence.
TRIBAL CUSTOMS.
The Seminoles are an orderly people. They are divided into bands
each under a headman who enforces strict discipline and requires
perfect obedience to the unwritten code. When a statutory law is
broken it is due to ignorance, and when the laws are made known to
an Indian, no second case of violation has ever been recorded
against them. The local courts recognize this fact, and usually the
judges seek to impress upon an Indian who is undergoing trial the
nature of the law that he has broken, knowing that he will carry the
news of this law to his people and thus prevent it from being broken
again.
The tribal laws of the Indians are just and inflexible and if one is
violated the erring one accepts the penalty, even though it be dc?th
itself, without a protest.
Indian-custom marriage still prevails, but such marriages are more
binding among them than legal marriages are among white people.
MORALITY.
Probably no people on earth have a higher standard of morality
than the Florida Seminoles, and it is not a single standard.
The Indians have a high -respect for property rights, and theft and
lying are serious crimes m their unwritten code.
Gambling is unknown among them.
DOMESTIC LIFE.
The domestic life of the Florida Seminoles offers a great contrast
to that of most other Indians. The women are treated with much
consideration and their wishes control family policy. The women






FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY.


perform the greater part of the work about the camps, but not as
menials; for indeed, they are quite independent, and are the finan-
ciers of the home.
The Seminole children are, almost perfect models of parental
control, such a thing as willful disobedience being of rare occurrence.
The authority of the parents is maintained without the harshness
and severity common m many white families, obedience being ren-
dered as a tribute to family law and not through fear of punishment.
The house is a shacklike structure suited to the semitropical
country. Every Seminole has a house; as soon as a child is able to
care for its own simplest needs, it occupies a house separate from its
mother. The- wife has her home and the husband has his, and they
occupy their respective homes, each living in a separate house.
In his report made in 1880 to the Bureau of Ethnology, the Rev.
Clay MacCaulev describes the dress of the Florida Seminoles as
follows:
The clothing of the Seminoles at this time was scanty. The males usually wore a
cotton or calico shirt, belted at the waist, and reaching within several inches of the
knees. A kerchief alout the neck, and a turban made of one or more bright colored
shawls, folded and wound several times about the head, with ends neatly tucked away,
completed the dre.s.
The women wore a skirt, with short waist of calico or gingham, but no covering
for head or feet.
This description holds for the camp dress of these Indians at the
present time. Their common attire is unlike that of any other
inhabitants of America. However, the clothing of the whites appeals
to the young men of the tribes. At home or on a hunting trip the
young man is content to go without covering for his legs or feet,
but when he visits a white community, he puts on shoes and trousers
if he has them.
HEALTH.

The Seminole Indians of Florida are known as the most healthy
tribe in the United States. Dr. O. S. Phillips (United States Indian
Service), who made a health survey of these Indians, said in part:
The Seminole Indians suffer less from the ravages of disease than any tribe I have
ever visited.
The only disease of any consequence found among them is hookworm, which, if
those infected could be congregated a little closer and given systematic treatment,
could be eradicated in a comparatively short time, though, of course, there is always
danger of reinfection.
The excellent health enjoyed by these people is, I believe, due to the fact that they
live in the open air all the time, day and night.
Scattered through the wilderness as they are, with few roads or trails, it would be
impossible for regularly employed physicians to work among them.
Dr. R. E. L. Newberne, chief medical supervisor, United States
Indian Service, inspected the work among the Florida Seminoles dur-
ing the month of March, 1921, and the following is taken from his
report:
It is said that the Florida Seminoles are free from tuberculosis. I.hope they are,
but the assertion is too good to accept without question. It is also said that venereal
disease is unknown among them. I can accept that as a fact. An arrange-
ment to have medical attention rendered by the nearest available physician is being
followed. Some of the Indians are so isolated that a physician can not get to them
when they are ill. Those who are able to travel-and a Seminole has to be very ill
if he can not travel-usually seek a physician and Maj. Spencer pays the cost.





FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY. 0

I saw a little boy in the Lee County Memorial Hospital at Fort Myers who had been
successfully operated upon for inguinal hernia under a general anesthetic, this opera-
tion being the first ever performed upon a Seminole under anesthesia.
The barriers are giving way and the Seminoles are seeking the benefits of civiliza-
tion. May they never know its vices. *
When the Indians congregate on their reservation it will be feasible to employ
regular medical services for them, but until that time the present arrangement should
remain in force.
The year just closing has been a season of distress for many of the
Seminoles. There was no demand for fur or alligator hides, the only
two things that they depend on to obtain money with which to buy
the necessaries of life other than those which they obtain through
hunting. A certain amount. of illness has been caused by under-
nourishment among the children, and an unbalanced ration contain-
ing too much meat among .the adults. It was also necessary to
furnish certain of the older Indians provisions in order to prevent
famine conditions.
'Expenditures for relief of distress among .the Florida Seminoles for
the fiscal year 1921 have been as follows:
Professional services of physicians.................................... $332.35
Professional services of opticians.................................... 4.50
Hospital expenses...................................................... 244.50
Medicines............................................................ 63.57
Transportation of sick Indians.......................................... 66.52
Telegrams relative to sick Indians ..................................... 1.11
Provisions supplied to sick and destitute Indians......................... 1,082.24
Total................... ........................................ 1,794.79
EDUCATION.
Under this head Dr. Newberne reports as follows:
It is not practicable to establish schools for these Indians so long as they remain
scattered as they are at present. If they occupy their reservation, as many of them
desire to do, schools can be established. How to educate the children of these people
without jeopardizing their health is one of the greatest problems of the agency. There
are no health problems or moral problems connected with the uplift work among the
Seminole Indians other than that of preventing deterioration from the present attain-
ments. The problems are educational and industrial in character. The first will
be hard to solve, but the second, I believe, will be easy if the program of the local
agency is supported by adequate appropriations. I believe that the Florida
Seminole Agency is in good hands and that the administrative officer is wn thy of
full support.
INDUSTRIAL POLICY.

The United States Government holds 26,741.72 acres of land for
the use and benefit of the Florida Seminoles. An industrial policy
has been outlined looking toward the establishment of an industrial
center on the largest tract of this land (17,280 acres) situated in Lee
County, about 80 miles from Fort Myers.
For the purpose of carrying out this policy, $20,000 was appro-
priated for the year 1920 and with this money 12,800 acres of grazing
land was fenced, necessary reservation buildings erected, and the
interest and cooperation of the Indians established. Four thousand
dollars was set aside for the purchase of a herd of cattle for the range.
In order to continue the work, $15,000 was requested for 1921, but
only $5,000 appropriated. The Indian Office refused to allow the
purchase of the cattle because there would be no funds to carry the
herd through the year, and the work came to a standstill.





6 FLORIDA SEMINOLE AGENCY.

The necessary expense of maintaining the work during the year
1921 was approximately $7,207. In order to prevent actual famine,
the Indian Office advanced $2,207 of its own funds.
Seven thousand dollars has been appropriated for the year 1922
and every cent will be needed to prevent actual suffering and keep
the present plant from deteriorating.
The idea of the industrial policy is to make these Indians self-
supporting and not a constant drain upon Government funds. With
the disappearance of game and the occupancy of the land by white
settlers, some provision must be made for these Indians. With
sufficient appropriations this can be accomplished in less than five
years, while, on the other hand, small appropriations merely prevent
actual suffering for the time being but give no remedy for existing
conditions. They make the Indian an object of charity instead of
helping him to maintain his independence and self-respect.
The question is often asked: "Will the Indian accept this offer?"
The answer is an emphatic yes. All labor at the industrial center is
performed by Indians. With the limited resources, it is necessary to
allot a small amount of work to each Indian in order that all may have
a chance. While this report is being written, 50 adult males are at
the industrial center working in turn as funds can be secured to pay
them. If sufficient funds were provided to carry out the necessary
improvements, a large majority of the Florida Indians would be
there to carry on the work.
The Indian is primarily an agriculturalist, and given proper instruc-
tion regarding fertilization and care of crops, improved breeding.
and care of cattle and hogs he will have the best crops and finest
herds in this part of the State.
Financial rporl, fixcal yicar 1921.
Receipts:
Appropriation support of Seminoles in Florida........................ $5,00000
Appropriation relief of distress and preventing disease .............. 1,707.00
Appropriation general expenses, Indian Service.................... 500.00
Total............ ........................................ 7. 207
Disbursements:
Salaries and labor ................. .............................. 4, 100.00
M'tor transportation-
Gasoline and oil .......................................... 509.55
Repairs and equipment.................................... 356.64
Health and sanitation................. ........................... 1.794. 79
Fuel and lights.................... ....... ............ .. 81. 25
Travel and per diem...................................... ... 306.35
Miscellaneous expenses .............................. ... .....-- 58. 42
Total ................................. .......... .......... 7,207.00
Attention is called to the fact that receipts from appropriations
for relief of distress and general expenses, Indian Service, were
provided by the Office of Indian Affairs to meet emergencies and
prevent famine conditions. This work had no official claim on
these funds in any way.
Respectfully submitted.
LUCIEN A. SPENCER,
Special Commissioner and Special Disbursing Agent.




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs