The Seminole culture did not exist in Florida until the 1770s. There were at least 15 Native American tribes who lived in Florida before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s and before the Seminole arrived.
The original tribes disappeared within 200 years, either dying of European diseases or enslaved in the Caribbean by the Spanish.
The Seminoles emerged in the 1700s from a combination of various Native American tribes who settled in Florida.
The dominant tribe was the northern Muscogee Creeks from Georgia and Alabama.
The word “Seminole” is derived from a Creek word or may be a corruption of the Spanish word “cimarron” which means runaway or wild one.
The Seminoles intermarried with free blacks and escaped slaves, hence the runaway designation.
Most Seminoles were relocated by 1842 to reservations west of the Mississippi River. The small remaining population fought 3 wars against the United States.
The few hundred who never surrendered moved to the Everglades.
In the twentieth century, the Miccosukee separated from the Seminoles and became a recognized tribe.
DAY TRIP 1
Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation,
34725 W. Boundary Rd., Clewiston, Fl 33440.
This museum in the heart of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation has a collection of more than 180,000 artifacts, archival items, and experiences.
You will learn about the Seminole people and their rich historical and cultural ties to the State of Florida and the Southeastern United States.
The museum grounds include a one mile raised boardwalk that meanders through a 60-acre cypress dome typical of the Everglades.
You will also see a Seminole village and ceremonial grounds.
DAY TRIP 2
Billy Swamp Safari
30000 Gator Tail Trail, Clewiston, Florida 33440.
Billie Swamp Safari is on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.
It features tours and attractions that will teach you about the Seminole culture. Among the experiences is a 55 minute swamp buggy eco-tour through the natural settings of the Everglades.
You can also take an air boat ride in the Everglades where you will see fish, snakes, turtles, and alligators. The Seminoles also put on a snake show.
You will also see various animal exhibits featuring birds and reptiles.
Note: This attraction closed during the Covid pandemic and has not reopened as of November 2023. We hope it will in the future.
DAY TRIP 3
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
7200 CR 603, Bushnell, Florida 33513. Tel: 352-793-4781
This park was established in 1921 to preserve and commemorate the site of Dade’s Battle of 1835. Of 110 American soldiers, only 3 survived the ambush.
The Seminole culture calls this "Dade's Battle"; the American culture at the time called it "Dade's Massacre".
This battle precipitated the longest and costliest Indian war in American history.
The park is the location of an annual battle reenactment in January.
The history of the event is preserved in a small museum at the Visitor Center. The exhibits in this museum include an award winning 12- minute video about the historic battle.
The park has beautiful grounds, picnic pavilions, and hiking trails.
DAY TRIP 4
Florida Seminole Wars Heritage Trail
Numerous locations across the State of Florida
The Seminoles fought 3 wars from 1817 to 1858 against the United States in a struggle to remain in their Florida ancestral homeland.
The State of Florida offers a free 56-page publication that gives the history of the wars and other Florida topics.
The publication also includes information and locations on battlefields, cemeteries, museum exhibits, monuments, historical markers, and other sites with direct links to the Seminole Wars.
The publication is available at the website listed above.
DAY TRIP 5
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
500 SW 177th Avenue, Miami, FL 33194.
The Miccosukee Tribe was part of the Seminole nation until the mid-twentieth century when they organized as an independent tribe.
This resort on the western edge of the metro Miami Area is a complete destination featuring gaming, modern hotel accommodations, numerous restaurants, and entertainment venues.
The resort is also the location for tours to Miccosukee golf courses, an Indian Village, and airboat rides.
The main Miccosukee reservation is several miles west of the resort on Tamiami Trail (US-41).
DAY TRIP 6
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, Florida 33314.
This resort is on reservation property in urban South Florida and close to beaches and other amenities.
It features a very large hotel, and gaming opportunities including more than 2,000 slot machines. Entertainment is constantly on display in their 3,500 seat Hard Rock Event Center.
The property was in an expansion mode in 2018 with the addition of a guitar-shaped hotel.
There are several restaurants on the property including the Hard Rock Café.
Outdoor activity includes a large beach club with a pool and bar.