The Great Depression of the 1930s, following as it did the exuberant prosperity and financial excesses of the “Roaring Twenties,” caught millions of Americans both economically and psychologically unprepared to deal with the collapse which was to follow. One of the few groups which was not adversely affected immediately, if only because they were already living perilously close to the poverty level, was the Seminole Indians of Florida. As late as the turn of the century they had participated in a profitable trading relationship with white merchants in the south Florida region. These merchants had purchased a great volume of bird plumes, alligator hides, otter pelts, and other items which the Indians brought in from the Everglades. These were valuable commodities utilized by the international fashion industry, and thus the Indian trade in Florida thrived throughout the first decade of the twentieth century. Then a series of events plunged the Florida Indians into an economic tailspin from which they had not begun to recover when the depression arrived.
Kersey, Jr., Harry A.
"Florida Seminoles in the Depression and New Deal, 1933-1942: An Indian Perspective,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 65:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol65/iss2/5