Native American Heritage Month
Resources From the State Library and Archives of Florida
November is National Native American Heritage Month. Two federally recognized tribes, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida Indians, call Florida home today. Additionally, there are many urban tribal citizens who live in the state; the 2010 U.S. census documented over 160,000 Native American or Alaska Native peoples in Florida.
Explore a few examples of Florida’s Native American history and culture.
- The Florida Seminoles
This unit introduces major themes, events, and individuals in Seminole history using primary sources from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida.
- Seminole Doll Making
Seminole doll maker Mary B. Billie and her daughter, Claudia C. John, discuss the history and practices of Seminole doll making.
- Deaconess Harriet Bedell established the Glades Cross Mission at Everglades in 1933 and worked with the Florida Seminoles until 1961.
- The Department of Commerce Collection features hundreds of photographs of Seminole Indians used in marketing campaigns by the State of Florida.
- The William A. Fishbaugh Collection features about a dozen photographs of Seminoles taken near Miami in the 1930s.
- The Folklife Collection contains hundreds of images of Seminole cultural traditions documented by folklorists in the 20th century.
- The Don and Gladys Marks Collection contains approximately 400 photographs of Florida Seminoles, including images depicting their work, daily life and tourist industries.
- Anthropologist Irvin M. Peithmann photographed the Florida Seminoles in the 1950s and 1960s during research trips to Florida.
- The Postcard Collection contains over 150 widely-disseminated images of Florida Seminoles.
- Botanist John Kunkel Small photographed Seminoles during his research in southern Florida in the early 1900s.
- The Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection contains approximately 80 images of Florida Seminoles in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Florida Folklife Collection contains nearly 1,000 items related to the Florida Seminoles, including nearly 200 digitized audio recordings available online. Below is a sampling of Seminole recordings from the audio collection.
- Interview with doll maker Mary Billie (1980)
- Interview with healer Susie Billie (1985)
- Interview with alligator wrestler Richard Bowers (1983)
- Stanlo Johns discusses Seminole cattle ranching at the 1984 Florida Folk Festival
- Interview with James Billie (1981)
- Interview with Jeanette Cypress (1984)
- Interview with Lena Osceola and Ethel Santiago (1983)
- Seminole folklore with Betty Mae Jumper (1985)
- Interview with Joel Frank (1984)
- Interview with Judy Bill Osceola (1982)
- Interview with Rubie Billie (interpreted by Betty Mae Jumper) (1982)
- Storyteller James Hancock talking with students (1986)
- Performance by James Billie at the 2002 Florida Folk Festival
- Performance by Paul Buster at the 2002 Florida Folk Festival
- Traditional song performed by Josie Billie at the 1959 Florida Folk Festival
- Scenes of the Everglades (1928)
This film, produced by Homer Augustus Brinkley, contains the earliest known footage of Seminole life in the Everglades. Brinkley captured scenes of camp life, a stickball game, and traditions associated with the Green Corn Dance.
- Florida Folk Festival (1955)
This film features performances at the 1955 Florida Folk Festival at the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs, Florida, including Florida Seminoles dancing onstage.
- Florida Folk Festival (1958)
This film is composed of performance clips from the 1958 Florida Folk Festival held at the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs, Florida, including scenes of Billy Bowlegs III and the Frank Shore family.
- Land Grant From the Upper Creeks, Lower Creeks and Seminoles to Thomas Brown (March 1, 1783)
- Letter From John Blunt to Judge William S. Pope (May 3, 1833)
- Letter Concerning the Outbreak of Hostilities in the Third Seminole War (1856)
- Call and Brevard Family Papers
This is a collection of personal papers from the Call and Brevard families of Tallahassee. A few items contain information about Richard Keith Call’s service in the Second Seminole War.
- Seminole Indian Legends
This document contains Seminole Indian legends collected by the Florida Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
- Thomas Sidney Jesup Diary
General Thomas Sidney Jesup commanded military operations in Florida during the early stages of the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). Jesup’s diary gives his perspective on aspects of the conflict from October 1, 1836, to May 30, 1837, including the movement of troops, the nature of the conflict, and meetings with Seminole and black leaders.
Bibliographies From State Library of Florida
- Native Americans in Florida
This bibliography lists some of the published works in the State Library on Native American history in Florida.
- Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars were one of the most important series of conflicts in American military history. Lasting from 1818 to 1858, they redefined relations between Native Americans and European Americans in Florida.
Additional Resources at the State Library and Archives
The State Library and Archives of Florida is located on the second floor of the R.A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399 (two blocks west of the State Capitol). An online map is available.
Our public research facilities are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on state holidays.
Researchers are encouraged to check with the State Library and Archives to verify operating hours and records availability prior to visiting.
Additional Resources at Your Library
If you need additional assistance locating information for your research, talk to a librarian at your school or public library or use the Ask a Librarian service. A librarian can help you locate primary and secondary resources that may not be retrieved using search engines such as Google.