Finally, in the MODERN ERA, Seminole society managed to both preserve and balance its unique culture within present-day Florida. From ranching, tourist attractions and hotels to Green Corn Dances, ball games, and traditional dress and architecture, Seminole culture is still an essential component of Florida life.
These images give only a brief insight into the vibrant culture and complex history of the Seminole Peoples of Florida. The following brief visual history was designed to coincide with the Museum of Florida History's newest exhibition, Seminole People of Florida: Survival and Success.
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Modern Seminoles have become an integral part of modern Florida society. Yet many of today's Seminoless also strive to preserve and expand their traditional culture, including their foodways, recreation, dress, and architecture.
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In recent years, scholars have begun to unravel the history of Florida's original peoples through archaeological sites, oral traditions, and historic documents.
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Billie, a veteran of the Vietnam War and former hair stylist, was elected as chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida in 1979, replacing Howard Tommie. During his tenure, which lasted until 2003, Billie expanded the Seminole Tribe's financial and cultural activities into a multi-million dollar corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, Billie also became a popular singer, releasing several albums and performing throughout the nation. Here he is performing with Florida folksinger Will McLean.
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By the late 20th Century, Seminole culture became prevalent throughout Florida. From Florida place names (Osecola and Seminole counties) to tourism to football mascots, many Floridians wanted to be linked with Seminole culture.
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Early attempts to appropriate the image of Seminoles often played upon stereotypes and inaccuracies, such as FSU's well-intentioned but historically inaccurate Sammy Seminole.
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Although Osceola was never a chief and the mascot has yet to be portrayed by a member of the Seminole tribe, nonetheless FSU's current mascot has the approval of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, who had a hand in the mascot's creation.
Although it has faced controversy in recent years, for many Floridians (including descendents of the soldiers who fought the real-life Osceola) the mascot demonstrates admiration and respect for Florida Seminoles.
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Many have criticized the linking of Native American images with war and fighting as detrimental to their image. Others feel that it shows the pride and a willingness to preserve their way of life. Statues such as this one by Fritz White and other public images demonstrate Florida's continued centuries-old fascination with Seminole culture.
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