The decline of the hide trade followed by the Great Depression forced Seminoles to seek alternative sources of income. Beginning in the 1920s, some Seminole families worked at tourist villages. Mikasuki-speaking Seminoles operated their own tourism-related businesses along the Tamiami Trail.
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Seminoles hunted alligators for centuries. However, alligator wrestling began as a tourist attraction in the 1920s.
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At first, few Seminoles relocated to reservations established in the 1920s and 1930s. This began to change as the government developed viable employment opportunities on the federal lands. By the late 1930s, cattle, land improvement, health, education, and handicraft programs were in place at the Brighton, Big Cypress, and Dania Reservations.
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This map depicts the approximate location of permanent Seminole camps in 1930.
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Mary B. Billie has been a dollmaker since she was 17. She learned the skill by watching her mother, who learned it from Mary’s grandmother.
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The Seminole Tribe built one of the largest and most successful cattle herds in Florida. Charlie Micco was among the first Seminole cattlemen on the Brighton Reservation.
Missionaries first attempted to convert the Seminoles to Christianity in the late 19th century, but were largely unsuccessful. Many of the Seminoles who moved to federal lands in the 20th century, however, converted to Christianity. The most successful missionary efforts came from the Seminole Baptists from Oklahoma and the Episcopal Church. Many Seminoles today blend traditional religious beliefs with Christianity.
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Deaconess Harriet Bedell operated the Glades Cross Mission in Everglades City for more than 30 years.
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The Seminole Tribe gained federal recognition in 1957. The Miccosukee Tribe gained federal recognition in 1962. Some Florida Indians refused to join either Tribe and stayed independent.
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In 2010, the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida agreed on the Seminole Gaming Compact. The agreement gave the Seminole Tribe a monopoly over certain types of gaming in exchange for a portion of casino profits.