R. T. King


As late at the 1950s, the Florida Seminoles were among the least acculturated of North American Indians. Three nineteenth-century wars with the United States had ended in defeat for the Seminoles, shattering their political structure and forcing the removal of the great majority of their people to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. The remnant bands had dispersed into the uninhabited reaches of South Florida, where, largely left to their own devices, they continued to lead a life based on hunting, gathering, and swidden (cut and burn) agriculture. They were not able to resume their rather sophisticated pre-war political structure, but their culture did provide foci of leadership in the personages of the keepers of the medicine bundles.