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Osceola of Florida, Drawn on Stone by Geo. Catlin, from his Original Portrait
Osceola was a Seminole war chief who led the resistance to the campaign by U.S. federal troops to forcibly resettle his tribe to territory west of the Mississippi River. Known as the Second Seminole War (1835-42), this was one of the most destructive campaigns by federal authorities against American Indians. Despite outnumbering the Seminoles ten to one, the U.S. troops failed to secure a quick victory. They then turned to desperate measures and deception, including capturing and imprisoning Osceola under the pretence of negotiating a truce. The American ...
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Library of Congress
Addie Billie
This portrait, taken in January 1989, is of Addie Billie, a member of the Seminole tribe of Florida, in old age. As a younger woman, Billie had campaigned to improve the quality of life of the Mikasuki-Seminoles. Today’s Seminoles are the descendants of Native Americans who may have lived for millennia in the southeastern United States. Seminole culture was firmly established in Florida by the 1800s, but it was also threatened by the newly created United States, which desired the removal of Seminole peoples from the territory. The Seminoles ...
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State Library and Archives of Florida
Seminole Josie Billie with Family and Dog
This photograph, taken in the Big Cypress Swamp in Florida near Deep Lake in April 1921, depicts Josie Billie and his family. Born on December 12, 1887, Billie was the son of the first Indian to receive a formal education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie was also a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival and lived on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Hendry County until his death in 1980. The image is ...
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State Library and Archives of Florida
Scenes of the Everglades
Businessman and adventurer Homer Augustus Brinkley produced this film in 1928 after living for several months among the Seminole Indians in the Everglades. He later used the film in a traveling show that featured a live, caged bear and himself dressed as a Seminole. Photographed by William B. Feeland, the film contains some of the earliest moving footage of the Seminole. Beginning with panoramic shots of vegetation, waterways, and abandoned structures, the film includes footage of wildlife, such as an owl, raccoons, water moccasins, alligators, deer, a wild turkey, and ...
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State Library and Archives of Florida
Ross Allen Reptile Institute
E. Ross Allen was a pioneer promoter and theme-park entrepreneur who achieved national and international fame for his animal wrestling. Born in 1908 in Pittsburgh, he was an Eagle Scout as a boy and later a stand-in for Johnny Weismuller in the Tarzan movies. He transformed the historic, natural tourist attraction of Silver Springs into a prototype of modern theme parks. Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute opened in 1929 and catered to Florida traditions (and mythology) while employing Florida residents, including Seminole Indians. The institute later shifted its emphasis a ...
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State Library and Archives of Florida
Traditional Seminole Song - Rev. Josie Billie
Josie Billie was a member of the Florida Seminole people who lived his entire life on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County, Florida. Born December 12, 1887, Josie Billie was the son of Connie Pajo, also known to Floridians as Billie Cornpatch, the first Indian to receive a Western education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie later continued his medical work as an herbalist and became a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival ...
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State Library and Archives of Florida