Floridian Nature

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Florida Tribes: Miccosukee Indians
The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida has a proud history, which pre-dates Columbus. The Miccosukee Indians were The Miccosukee are a Native American tribe living in Florida. They are descendants of the Lower Chiaha, a Muskogee Creek tribe and have had centuries of relations with the Seminole but maintain a separate identity today, largely on linguistic grounds. The Miccosukee people lived in settled villages of houses called chickees. Chickees were made of wood and plaster, and the roofs were thatched with palmetto fiber. As the Miccosukee tribe moved south into the Everglades, they began building their houses on wooden stilts. This raised the floor two or three feet off the ground and protected their homes from flooding and swamp animals.

Unlike the Creek-speaking Seminole, they speak the Mikasuki language, another of the Muskogean languages. Their original home was in the Tennessee Valley, where they were originally one with the Upper Chiaha, but they later migrated first to the Carolinas when the former migrated to northern Alabama, then to northern Florida during the 18th and 19th centuries, forming a major part of the Seminole tribe. The Miccosukees didn't wear long headdresses like the Sioux. Miccosukee men usually shaved their heads except for a single scalplock, and sometimes they would also wear a porcupine roach. (These headdresses were made of porcupine hair, not their sharp quills!)

Miccosukee women usually wore their long hair in topknots or buns. The Miccosukees wore elaborate tribal tattoos, but rarely painted their faces. the Miccosukee Indians made flat dugout canoes from hollowed-out cypress logs. They usually steered these boats with poles rather than paddles. Over land, the Miccosukees used dogs as pack animals.

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians moved again to the Everglades after the Seminole Wars. During this period they mixed heavily with the Creek-speaking Seminoles, but many of them maintained their Mikasuki language. The Miccosukee were farming people. Miccosukee women did most of the farming, harvesting crops of corn, beans, and squash. Miccosukee men did most of the hunting and fishing, catching game such as deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, turtles, and alligators.

Miccosukee dishes included cornbread, soups, and stews. Miccosukee hunters primarily used bows and arrows. Fishermen generally used fishing spears. In war, Miccosukee men fired their bows or fought with tomahawks and lances.  The tribe today occupies several reservations in southern Florida, principally the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. The tribe separated from the Seminole in the 1950s to become the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida; they were recognized by the state of Florida in 1957, and received federal recognition in 1962.

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