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Seminole Tribe

History >> Native Americans for Kids

The people of the Seminole tribe were Native Americans who originally lived in northern Florida. They retreated to southern Florida when American settlers moved into their territory. Today, they live in Florida and Oklahoma.


The Seminole tribe was formed out of people from several other tribes in the 1700s. The main people were the southern Creek who left Georgia to find safer lands. People from other tribes joined them and they became known as the Seminole tribe.

Seminole Wars

The Seminole people fought to keep their land from the United States in a series of wars called the Seminole Wars. The First Seminole War took place when Andrew Jackson and 3,000 soldiers invaded northern Florida in 1817. They captured runaway slaves living in North Florida and ended up taking much of East Florida under control for the United States.

The Second Seminole war took place from 1835 to 1842. During this time many Seminole leaders resisted a forced move to reservations in Oklahoma by the United States government. A small band of warriors under the leadership of Osceola fought back for many years. Although many Seminoles were forced to move to Oklahoma, a few held out in the deep swamps of Florida.

The Third Seminole war lasted from 1855 to 1858. The Seminole Indians were led by Billy Bowlegs. Eventually Billy Bowlegs was captured and relocated out of Florida.

Billy Bowlegs
by Thomas Loraine McKenney

What kind of homes did they live in?

The Seminole people originally lived in log cabins in North Florida, but when they were forced to move to the swampy lands of Southern Florida they lived in homes called chickees. A chickee had a raised floor, a thatched roof supported by wooden posts, and open sides. The raised floor and roof helped to keep the Indians dry, but the open sides helped to keep them cool in the hot weather.

What languages did they speak?

The Seminole spoke two different languages: Creek and Mikasuki.

What was their clothing like?

Women wore long skirts and short blouses. They also wore several strings of glass beads. They received their first string of beads as a baby and never took them off. They added more strings of beads as they got older.

Men wore long shirts with a belt and a turban on their heads. Most of the time the people went barefoot, but they would sometimes wear moccasins during cold weather.


The Seminole people are divided into smaller groups called clans. This is an extension of the traditional family unit. When two people got married, the man would go to live with his new wife's clan. There are eight Seminole clans including Deer, Bear, Panther, Snake, Otter, Bird, Bigtown, and Wind.

Seminole canoes

Because of all the water in Florida, the main form of transportation for the Seminole Indians was the canoe. They made dugout canoes by hollowing out the logs of cypress trees.

Famous Seminole Indians Interesting Facts about the Seminole Tribe
Go here to read more about the history of Florida.

Activities For more Native American History:

Culture and Overview
Agriculture and Food
Native American Art
American Indian homes and Dwellings
Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
Native American Clothing
Roles of Women and Men
Social Structure
Life as a Child
Mythology and Legends
Glossary and Terms

History and Events
Timeline of Native American History
King Philips War
French and Indian War
Battle of Little Bighorn
Trail of Tears
Wounded Knee Massacre
Indian Reservations
Civil Rights

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Cheyenne Tribe
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Nation
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Osage Nation
Sioux Nation

Famous Native Americans
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Chief Joseph
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Maria Tallchief
Jim Thorpe
Works Cited

History >> Native Americans for Kids

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