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Images of Florida Seminoles in the Sunshine State

Introduction | Early Years | Resistance and Removal | Isolation | Tourism | Reservations and Organization | Modern Era

 
Seminole canoe encounters steam ship (late 1800s)

Seminole canoe encounters steam ship (late 1800s)

Seminole isolation could not last forever as development encroached upon South Florida.

Soon, some Seminoles chose to participate in Florida’s newest industry – tourism.

 

 
Example of Seminole alligator wrestling (1930s)

Example of Seminole alligator wrestling (1930s)

Some Seminoles benefited from the unfamiliarity and curiosity many Americans harbored towards them by the 20th century. One of the most enduring misperceptions of Seminoles was their propensity to “wrestle” alligators. After years of such imagery, some Seminoles created a performing tradition that lasts to the present day: alligator wrestling.

 
Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1967)

Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1967)

The sculpture in front of the crafts center shows a Native American man wrestling an alligator.

 
Demonstration of Seminole alligator wrestling (1940s)

Demonstration of Seminole alligator wrestling (1940s)

 

 
Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village (1930s)

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village (1930s)

Other Seminoles chose to open their villages up to curious visitors and tourists. And in some cases, such as a Silver Springs, families created fuax Indian villages completed with non-Seminole touches as teepees and totem poles.

 
Totem pole at Tropical Hobbyland Indian Village: Miami, Florida (1930s)

Totem pole at Tropical Hobbyland Indian Village: Miami, Florida (1930s)

 

 
Man making a dugout canoe at the Seminole Village in Silver Springs (1950s)

Man making a dugout canoe at the Seminole Village in Silver Springs (1950s)

 

 

 
Mock-up of Osceola locked up at Fort Marion (Casillo de San Marcos) (1920s)

Mock-up of Osceola locked up at Fort Marion (Casillo de San Marcos) (1920s)

 

 
Seminole dolls on display at the 1981 Florida Folk Festival: White Springs, Florida (1981)

Seminole dolls on display at the 1981 Florida Folk Festival: White Springs, Florida (1981)

Another invented Seminole tradition for tourists was the Seminole doll. But like alligator wrestling and patchwork, it has transformed into a vibrant and authentic tradition that continues today.

 

 
Seminoles visiting Bok Tower: Lake Wales, Florida (1930s)

Seminoles visiting Bok Tower: Lake Wales, Florida (1930s)

 

 
Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1976)

Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1976)

Located on the Dania Seminole Indian Reservation.

 
 

Introduction | Early Years | Resistance and Removal | Isolation | Tourism | Reservations and Organization | Modern Era

 

 

 

 

 

 


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