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)
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
lasts to the present day: alligator wrestling.
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)
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
non-Seminole touches as teepees and totem poles.
Totem pole at Tropical Hobbyland Indian Village: Miami,
Man making a dugout canoe at the Seminole Village in Silver
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)
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)