Some Seminole bands killed mixed-blood babies as late as the 1950s
First, I want to make it clear that this information is not intended to disparage the Seminole and Miccosukee Peoples. If I was to be federally recognized, it really should be Seminole, Miccosukee or Uchee. As far as I know, I have no Muskogee Creek heritage. Most of the Seminole bands originated in the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. The few Native words that my elders taught me were all Hitchiti (Miccosukee) words, not Muskogee.
That being said, Muskogean scholars should never be involved with with the fabrication or concealing of history like some tribes chronically do. Our cultural heritage is so ancient and so filled with cultural achievements, there is no reason to state anything, but the facts.
Newcomers on POOF should also read these two articles on the Seminoles and Miccosukees:
The two articles above refute the statements made by white academicians in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina during 2012 and 2013. One wonders why some of these anthropology professors should be even allowed to teach any classes associated with the culture of the Muskogean Peoples.
A modern day Moses
Read the official biography on former Seminole Principal Chief, Jim Billie. It states that his biological father was a white merchant ship seaman on shore leave during World War II. According to the bio, Seminole “medicine men” (probably either keepers or oratas) stole the newborn baby and planned to kill him by leaving him out in the swamps. It was the practice of their band to kill all mixed-Native/white babies at that time. Relatives stole the baby back before he could be killed and spirited him to safety.
I contacted a founding member of the People of One Fire, who is a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and highly educated. I asked her if this was true or was it a tall tale created by Jim Billie?
She said that it was absolutely true, but only for some very conservative bands, who lived deep within the heart of southern Florida and whose ancestors had fought in the Third Seminole War. They had hated most whites for many generations. You can read about them in the article, “Seminoles in 1917.” Their complaint was that “whites always lie.” She said that they also killed deformed babies.
The practice stopped in the early 1950s. First of all, the federal government initiated a concerted effort to dissolve the Seminole Tribe and take most of their lands to give to prominent Florida real estate developers . . . therefore violating yet another series of treaties. The Seminole leaders decided that they needed to avoid any traditional practices such as multiple spouses or infanticide that the Feds could use against them in propaganda.
Secondly, the Tamiami Trail highway began pumping more and more out-to-state tourists into the region, who eagerly spent their money to buy the high-quality Seminole arts and crafts. The tourists were curious about Seminole Culture, unlike several Florida developers, who merely wanted to take the Seminole’s land. As the Seminoles prospered from various business investments, their hostility toward whites softened considerably.
Ethnic purity was not a Creek tradition
The Seminoles are really just an alliance of Creek towns, who moved to Florida. This effort by some Seminole bands to maintain genetic purity was diametrically opposite to ancient Creek traditions. Traditionally, Creeks could not marry within their own clan or village. Marriages with neighboring ethnic groups were encouraged in order to cement social and political bonds.
The Hitchiti-speaking Creeks in Northeast and Middle Georgia took this tradition to a new level in the mid-and-late 1700s. They invited white and mixed-blood families to settle in their communities, even when their lands were officially in the territory of the Creek Confederacy. They then encouraged their children to intermarry with those of their new white neighbors.
This was actually a very clever strategy for survival. If Upper Creeks or Cherokees attacked their communities, they would also be attacking white families . . . thus instigating a war with the Provinces of Georgia and South Carolina. Secondly, having blood relations with their white neighbors insured access to manufactured goods and good relations with the predominantly white communities to the east in South Carolina and southeastward in the Coastal Plain of Georgia and South Carolina. The plan worked, but of course, none of their descendants today can call ourselves “full-blooded Native Americans,” yet we are here and Creek culture still lives.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
- Using words to explore the peopling of the Southeast – Part One - December 8, 2018
- Early Scottish immigrants . . . the joke is on me! - December 8, 2018
- Why Southeastern Creeks should study Teotihuacan - December 4, 2018
- The Red-Haired Giants . . . both kinds - December 2, 2018
- A Creek & Uchee Perspective on Unregulated Mass Immigration - November 28, 2018