Florida Guide > Florida History
Miccosukee people of Florida
Miccosukee people were originally part of the Muskogee tribe of Native Americans. They came to Florida by way of Tennesse, then the Carolinas and finally settled in Florida in the eighteenth century.
It is thought that their name was bestowed on them by the early Spanish exploreres who called them micos sucios. I am afraid to tell you that this translates as dirty monkeys. This is recorded in the diary of Ponce De Leon who noted that one of his fellow exploreres Diaz de la Torre Gonzaga-Palacios who returned from a foray to say that he had met these son comc micos sucias
All the present day Miccosukee people are ante cedents of just 50 of their tribe who managed to escape to the Everglades in the Indian wars of the mid nineteenth century.
Prior to this, they had lived in settlements near the west coast of Florida.
Once they settled in the Everglades they started to grow crops to supplement their traditional diet of game and fish. The farming would have been mainly done by the female members of the group. The men would have hunted the game and both sexes would take part in the story telling that was a big part of their entertainment and tradition.
By the eithteen seventies, distinct Miccosukee groups began to emerge again and they existed by swapping game, alligator skins and feathers for essentials like salt and coffee and even arms.
The construction of the Tiamiami Trail and the encroaching buildings allowed the once abundant water to disappear. Also, they lost their exclusive hunting rights.
1947 was the year that the Government made The Everglades a National Park and these Native Americans were once again dispossessed. It took til 1962 til this was put right.
Of course, they have had to adapt their way of living but they have managed to retain their identity. Some Miccosukee folk still live in their traditional Chikies (A Chikee is their traditional home which would normally have been framed with wood and topped with a palmetto roof.
Palmetto trees were a useful part of most Native American groups in Florida and the leaves were used to make clothes and bowls as well as roofing material.
Nowadays, one of their tribes has a casino resort in Florida that is so successful that they are able to sponsor Nascar teams.
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Page added on: 7 August 2009
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