History of the
The Tribe has a proud history, which predates Columbus. The Miccosukee Indians were originally part of the Creek Nation, and then migrated to Florida before it became part of the United States.
During the Indian Wars of the 1800s, most of the Miccosukee were removed to the West, but about 100, mostly Mikasuki-speaking Creeks, never surrendered and hid out in the Everglades. Present Tribal members now number over 600 and are direct descendants of those who eluded capture.
To survive in this new environment, the Miccosukee adapted to living in small groups in temporary “hammock style” camps spread throughout the Everglades’ vast river of grass. In this fashion, they stayed to themselves for about 100 years, resisting efforts to become assimilated. Then, after the Tamiami Trail highway was built in 1928, the Tribe began to accept New World concepts.
To ensure that the federal government would formally recognize the Miccosukee Tribe, Buffalo Tiger, an esteemed member of the Tribe, led a group to Cuba in 1959, where they asked Fidel Castro for, and were granted, international recognition as a sovereign country within the United States.
Following this, on January 11, 1962, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior approved the Miccosukee Constitution and the Tribe was officially recognized as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. This legally established the Miccosukee’s tribal existence and their sovereign, domestic dependent nation status with the United States Government.
Programs and Business
On May 4, 1971, officers of the Miccosukee Corporation, acting for the Miccosukee Tribe, signed a contract with the BIA authorizing the Corporation to operate all programs and services provided for the Miccosukee Community and formerly administered by the BIA. The Tribe’s intent in negotiating this matter was clear; the people wished to decide their own fate and gradually develop total independence.
The Miccosukee Tribe now operates a Clinic; Police Department; Court System; Day Care Center; Senior Center; Community Action Agency and an Educational System ranging from the Head Start Pre-School Program through Senior High School, Adult, Vocational and Higher Education Programs and other Social Services. These programs incorporate both the traditional Miccosukee Indian ways and non-Indian ways into their system and are all located on the Tamiami Trail Reservation, where the Miccosukee community resides.
In addition, the Miccosukee Tribe owns and operates a Gift Shop; General Store; Service Station and Indian Village on the Tamiami Trail Reservation; an Indian Casino and Tobacco Shop on the Krome Avenue Reservation; and a full-service Gas Station and Service Plaza on Alligator Alley Reservation.
Membership in the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is open to individuals who have Miccosukee mothers and are not enrolled in any other Tribe. The Miccosukee Service Area is composed of Tribal members and their families, independent Miccosukees, Seminoles and other Indian families residing along the Tamiami Trail from Miami to Naples. The total population of the Miccosukee Service area is about 640.
The responsibilities of the General Council consist of the development and management of resources and the day-to-day business activities of the Tribe including those involving membership, government, law and order, education, welfare, recreation, and fiscal disbursement. This group is also known as the Business Council. It is a combination of traditional tribal government and modern management that forms the organizational structure of the present-day Miccosukee Tribe.