African-Native American Genealogy Forum
Seminole Estelusti---Friends? Enemies?
The historic relationship between the various bands that formed the Seminole nation has been documented for over 170 years.
The Alliance formed when maroons joined the Red Stick warriors in Florida and who formed alliances, and banded together, was shattered in 2000, when a new sentiment spread through the Seminole Nation. The Freedmen, were after more than a century and a half of belonging to the blended nation known as Seminoles were expelled.
The friendship, perceived to be endless, finally succumbed to a spirit of "you-can't-have-any-you-don't-look-like-us" based now, on color, and no longer on citizenship, kinship and association. The Estelusti the Black Seminoles as they are known in some circles, were expelled, to prevent their sharing in Federal dollars. Last year, I posted a message about the recent book about the Seminoles, and I thought I would repost some of the remarks again, since the author is now rising in the press as a spokesperson against the Freedmen. Much of her information is not simply in error, it is written with a strong bias against a portion of her nation that is for whom it is now acceptable in her circles to malign.
Why repost? Because the author of the book is the same person who has begun a campaign, accusing Seminole Freedmen of being "glorified" while the Seminoles (by blood, presumably) are being "vilified".
FACT: No hostile action has ever been taken by the Seminole Freedmen towards their nation, nor towards their fellow citizens, yet, somehow the expulsion of the Freedmen (an act of hostility and racism) from the nation in which they have always been a part, is not seen by the author as vilification from within the tribe towards their estelusti brethren. In fact, the author sees and clearly wants no association with Freedmen, until they somehow "bring something of "value" similar to the warrior skills they brought back in the 1800s. It appears that they have to "earn" their way back into their own nation!
Susan Miller wrote the book "Coacoochee's Bones, A Seminole Saga". I posted a message to the board in 2004, about some of the alarming statements made, by this person who is now speaking out nationally about the Freedmen, with much misinformation, and misrepresentation of the nation's history.
Prof. Miller spoke on the radio program last week, again, speaking as if the Freedmen were outsiders to the nation where they had always been a part, and she was recently quoted in the press this past week, promoting an Afri-phobic spirit that is spreading throughout many circles.
The lesson is that we must read, must study history and must be informed, particularly when those who revise history come forth, others are needed to clarify and illustrate and reflect the voices of those being truly "villified" and in this case, victimized.
My post from 2004 follows:
Thanks for mentioning the Seminoles. Their history is an interesting one, and I wanted to point out the emergence of a new text that has makes some very serious statements about the Seminole Freedmen that members of the nation and others who study I.T. history need to be aware of.
It is obvious in the past two years that Afri-phobism has arisen and exposed itself in many parts of the former Indian Territory. The Five Nations and their quiet disenfranchisement of those of African-Native ancestry speaks for itself. "Coacoochee's Bones, A Seminole Saga"
In addition, many of the facts and mistinterpretations of history are often made by various parties in the nations today who have a voice in some of these nations. However, Seminole history has always been acknowledged to have taken a route somewhat different from the same "trails" that brought the other nations to the Territory. However, now there is an interesting shift even in the historical analysis pertaining to Seminole history. I am referring to the new book by Susan Miller.
There are many references to the "maroons" and the alliances formed with them in Florida, however, the Black Seminoles are placed by the writer as outside the nation, though inside the nation, at the same time.
The book, focuses on the legacy of Coacoochee a Seminole leader. At the same time, the writer makes some very serious statements about the relationship of red and black people.
Note the quote:
"In Coacooshee's day, the blacks brought valuable resources--especially their warrior's skills to the bargain. Today for such an alliance to work, the Freedmen would need to provide a resource of simliar value, and the Seminoles would need to recognized its utility. Instead, the Freedmen are providing the colonial United States wtih yet another excuse for undermining the Seminoles, and the Seminoles are refusing to look for common ground with the Freedmen."
The statement refers to the current issues in the Seminole Nation, initiated by the Freedmen. The writer suggests that the act of seeking equal treatment in a nation where they are already citizens is an effort to assit the "colonial" United States in undermining their own nation.
Such statements point to a clear need on the part of many who descend from the Five Nations to truly research history, utilizing as many primary sources as possible. Statement such as these will become the argument used to justify continued disenfranchisement and also to support dangerously racist positions on many issues.
There is a critical need to study and learn as much about history and culture of the nations from which we descend. All aspects of history and culture should be pursued vigorously.
So many efforts can get blurred, because the goal and vision to acknowledge one's history gets derailed by political "prizes." In some cases the prizes are tribal cards, and perceived benefits.
History is there to be researched, and requires no cards, to be pursued. Likewise, culture, should be learned and appreciated by those who descend from them. Without serious scholarship on our own parts, even the basic desire can become derailed through misrepresentation.
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All who have a sincere interest in the history of the Freedmen should be aware of the new "voice" being given attention in the press of late as a "spokesperson" for the Seminoles and the strong sentiment against all persons of African-Native Ancestry that appears to emmanate from the writer.
When I posted the message last year about the dangerous statements in Miller's book there were few, if any reactions.
Again I shall state---- silence allows misinformation to flourish. All voices should be heard.
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