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Tourism

By the 1920s, as development and modernization transformed Florida, many Seminoles chose to participate in Florida's newest industry, TOURISM, including cultural displays, souvenir stores, and crafts. They also played upon assumptions and expectations of others though such manufactured "traditions" as alligator wrestling and carved totem poles.

Seminole canoe encounters steam ship (late 1800s)

Seminole canoe encounters steam ship (late 1800s)

Image Number: N040994

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)

Image Number: PC5311

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)

Image Number: C670969

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)

Image Number: PR04858

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village (1930s)

Musa Isle Seminole Indian Village (1930s)

Image Number: PC5315

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)

Image Number: PC1309

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)

Image Number: PC5438

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)

Image Number: PC3370

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)

Image Number: FS81396

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)

Image Number: PR01006

Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1976)

Okalee Indian Village and Crafts Center (1976)

Image Number: C684026

Located on the Dania Seminole Indian Reservation.