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Volume XX Number 18 December, 1997

HEADLINES
* Few Indians Attend Everglades Park Bash
* Council Cuts Dividends
* Ivan Billie Wins Grid Scholarship
* A 'Sad Trip' For Proud Seminoles
* Neh tuk huhn Cho bush chah
* Christmas Memories

160 Years Ago This Month:

A 'Sad Trip' For Proud Seminoles


By Dr. P.R. Wickman

Late in October of 1837 the Second Seminole War was dragging on. The U.S. troops were searching relentlessly across the Florida Territory for the camps of the war leaders, targeting them in an attempt to break the resistance to removal.

Throughout the previous year, skirmishes and "talks" had proved useless. There had been no decisive victories either by the Indians or by the white soldiers, and public opinion across the nation was divided on several important issues.

Should the United States demean itself by throwing its considerable might against an enemy that did not have the same technological resources? Could the U.S. actually win a war against an enemy with all the swamps, forests, and rivers of Florida to hide in - an enemy who struck and melted away before they could be challenged in direct combat?

Indian rights activists (the term didn't exist then, but the sentiment did) strongly supported the Indians' determination not to be removed from Florida. Abolitionists (anti-slavery activists) supported the rights of runaway slaves and Freedmen to live in peace in Florida.

The U.S. soldiers scored major psychological victories early in September 1837, when they captured "King" Philip and his son, Coacoochee, Uchee Billy and his brother Uchee Jack, and Blue Snake. They were sent to St. Augustine and held as prisoners in the old Spanish fort, renamed Fort Marion by the United States.

Oklahoma Maskókî tradition says that Coacoochee and Osceola were Clan brothers. This makes sense in light of the fact that Osceola was obviously a war leader and counselor to Micanopy. Micanopy was Coacoochee's uncle - the brother of Coacoochee's mother. Micanopy was an acknowledged hereditary leader. One of his sisters was married to Jumper. The first "Bowlegs" was his mother's brother, and the second Bowlegs, Hulpata micco, was his Clan brother (first cousin).The capture of his Clan leaders would have been devastating to Osceola.

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