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 from the collection of John Kunkel Small, a prominent American botanist associated with the New York Botanical Garden who specialized in the plant life of the American Southeast and documented environmental degradation in the Everglades.

Last updated: September 18, 2015