tv American Artifacts Seminole Nation Museum CSPAN April 20, 2020 1:09pm-1:49pm EDT
an exceptional nation as a lot of people like to believe. that in america, we have a process that happened of ethnic cleansing and human trafficking that are global processes, that still go on today. and so that's part of the american story, that makes us part of a global history, that we immediate to understand if we're going to really try to deal with these issues in the present world. >> author and professor, paul kelton, from stony brook university, good luck with the book. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for joining us. >> i appreciate it. >> you're watching a special edition of american history tv. during the week while members of congress are in their districts during the coronavirus pandemic. tonight, programs on the 25th anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing, beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern with an hour-long program, looking back at the morning of the attack. the investigation, and the arrest of the perpetrators. and how the attack has been remembered. american history tv, now and over the weekend, on c-span3.
>> every saturday night, american history tv takes you to college classrooms around the country for lectures in history. >> why do you all know who lizzie borden is, and raise your hand if you had ever heard of this murder, the gene harris murder trial before this class? >> the deepest cause where we'll find the true meaning of the revolution was in this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> so we're going to talk about both of these sides of this story here, right? the tools, the techniques of slave owner power, and we'll also talk about the tools and techniques of power that were practiced by enslaved people. >> watch history professors lead discussions with their students on topics ranging from the american revolution to september 11th. lectures in history on c-span3, every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv and lectures in history is available as a podcast. find it where you listen to
podcast podcasts. >> approximately 4,000 seminole indians who live in florida today are descendants of a small band that never surrendered to the u.s. military during three seminole wars between 1817 and 1858. over the course of that 40 years, the majority of seminoles were forced to move west of the mississippi wiriver to what is w oklahoma. next on american artifacts, a visit to the seminole nation museum in weewoeka oklahoma to learn the story of the western tribe. >> hello, my name is louis johnson. i am a seminole tribal member here with the seminole nation of oklahoma. and we are here today at the seminole nation museum located in the capital of the seminole nation of oklahoma, wewoka, oklahoma. so what we have here today is different exhibits that portray the history of the seminole
people. as a people, before we were separated from our homes, our original homes in florida, i'm actually mikobooka, which means i'm the twin chief, the assistant chief for the seminole nation of oklahoma. i came into office in 2013, this is 2019. i'm in my second term and have two more years to fulfill this second term. i think, you know, of many tribes, over 500 native tribes in america, that the seminoles are a tribe of a people that are of interest. and i think part of that interest is, because the defiance that the seminoles had put up during the conflicts in earlier history to not be defeated. the only tribe in american history to never surrender when there was a war being fought against them would never surrender to the united states, nor sign an official peace
declaration with the united states was the seminoles. so that brings a little bit of am b ambience to both people that live in the united states and internationally. i think internationally, people know who the seminoles are simply because of that history. but all tribes have a great story to tell. you know, all tribes in nations of the indigenous peoples of america have such a beautiful heritage, culture, and history to share. and the seminoles in this museum would be very much pleased for anyone to come and visit the museum, study in the library. they have a library research center here. so all of these things are of such an importance. and especially, you know, if you're doing something that's never really thought about, if you're doing a steady and sometimes there's segments on slavery in america and that type of thing, you cannot portray slavery in america properly
without including the african history that is aligned with the five civilized tribes. the descendants of african slaves, maroons, free people, and that's something that the seminoles still have today. we still have descendants of those people that came from florida, that were not indian blood, they were of african descent, joined in the fight of freedom that are still a part of the tribe today. they still set on the tribal council. they are still citizens of the seminole nation since right after the civil war. the eemancipation proclamation didn't take place and that's the reason they were reassigned. but they weren't the best of treaties. they took a lot of things away from us. land base and they took many things away from us as far as seminoles are concerned. but the thing of it is is we're
still here. the seminole tribe of florida down in florida, which is our brothers and our brethren and we are the descendants of the ancestors that were brought as prisoners of war to the west, and i just want you to know that even though seminoles are associated with the overall indian removal act of the 1830s and what's known as the trail of tears, our people, our males were shackled in chains and brought to the west as prisoners of war. so the seminoles are a very well-stated native american people group. and a well-known people group, as well, when you think about american indians. a lot of times people will think of the seminoles. and we extend our invitation out to you. come visit us here in central oklahoma, the home of the seminole nation of oklahoma, wewoka. but let's take a look at the map. and it speaks a little bit about seminole beginnings. as we see the whole southeastern
part of the united states was home to many tribes, as you can see in this map, and what became known as seminoles for you see, seminole is not the original name of the nation and the tribes that exists in florida today, but many different tribal towns, tribal bands, even small tribes like tallahassee, all of these people groups amalgamated and became known as seminoli which is what we call in the english deviation of that word is seminole today. so the seminoles originally actually most of these tribal groups and towns that became known as seminole existed in certain areas of alabama, certain areas of georgia, and then some were inspect northern part of florida, but by the time
that the colonialism began to expand in the southeast, many of these people groups began to move down into the northern area, what we would consider portions of the panhandle of florida, and all the way down to about this area up north. now, the original tribes of florida are these names that you see here. appalachia, timqua, cloossa, these were the original tribes of florida. so what we do know historically, they were decimated due to disease and slavery, early on as europeans come to this part of the world. so what became known as seminoles is they began to settle in this area here, as early as the 1700s and that name began to be associated with that particular tribal people groups. the capital of today, as people will call tallahassee, is actually probably about where
this name timaque is. tallahassee is probably right in this area, if i've got the estimation of the map here. and the tallahassee is actually my tribal town. that's the tribal town that i come from. we as seminoles, we have tribal towns, what we call bands today, and the formation of our tribal government. we also have clans. so my clan is bird clan. and all of this derives from my mother's side. so we're matralineal. constitutionally, today, if your mother is not a member of the seminole nation, but your father is, then you can be a member of that band of your father. but traditionally, you followed your mother's side and you were the same band and same clan of your mama. and the great warrior osceola was said by legacy and history
to be from talasy, alabama, and he was bird clan, as well. our legacy of tallahassee ban often associates osceola as being from that original people before moving from alabama into florida. here's an interesting exhibit, because it shows some areas of everyday life. things that might have been used, especially in the 1800s. what you have, some fishing equipment. you see a gig that is made out of the sharp woody spikes here, that have edges on them, so that the fish can't slip off very easily. the actual material is river cane, which is an abundant plant, which is also what this blowgun that you see here, that
is leaning here, and the darts that you see is made out of thistle and also along the -- also, river cane, as well. now, even arrow shafts were made out of river cane at one point in our history as the southeastern tribes, as well as seminoles. winnowing baskets was made out of split cane, as you can see here. you can see these areas here, these baskets. they were used for winnowing, such as when you're pounding corn and you're winnowing it in the wind with a basket of that type. or maybe you're separating the corn after you have pounded in the -- with the kachubby, which is available as one of the objects here in the museum. of course, throughout the history of the seminoles, as we established ourselves here in the west, we did not have lands of our own until the year 1856. one of the goals of the
government's policies at that time was to relocate the seminoles here to be able to place them amongst the muskogee tribe, which was the larger tribe at that time, and still is today. but in 1856, we acquired under the treaty of 1856, on august 7th of that year, lands that were our very own as the seminole nation of oklahoma. west of the mississippi. it was our lands. and from that, there began to be a lot of things established within that particular area. now, we had our own law enforcement, as well. and still to this day, our tribal police go by the named name of the seminole light horseman. and these are some light horseman from an earlier period of time, as you can see. and they were very honorable people. they were selected because they had great courage, they had great humility, and they also
cared for their people. here you see a form of punishment among the seminoles, when one was found guilty by the tribal council for a certain offense, there could be one way of dealing with a person of that type. it's on the whipping tree. as you can see, the man is extended from a limb of a tree. there's a thong that is tied about where his ankles are, and a pole would be taken over that thong so that two men would set on that and cause him to be able to be stretched or add a little weight, so that he could not fringe up or skring up wherever he was taking his punishment from one of the light horseman that was applying the whipping for an offense that he may have done, you know, in our tribe. what we see here is the last execution that was taken in seminole history. his name was pamuskee. and he was found guilty of
killing another individual. and the light horse would also be called out after he was tried before the tribal council. at that time in history, the council was the jury and they would pass measures in that type of arrangements for anything that was a transition or a transgression against the nation at the time. as you can see, he was blindfolded. then there would be either a leaf or a piece of paper that would be placed where his heart would be, and several light horseman would be called out and many, many steps back, they would be given the order to fire upon this man. it was known throughout the history of the seminole nation that there was never a person who ran from his appointed time with the execution. they always came back, it was an honor in their family once that
was sentence was given, they came back and took whatever the sentence was. and in this case, it was death by a firing squad. if you'll look at this image right here, this is the actual execution tree. this is that very tree. this is actually on loan from the state historical society that an individual, i think, am seran had this cut down back in the early 1900s and the historical society or the state of oklahoma has housed it. as you can see, in the image, it's the very tree that was known as the execution tree. here we have one of the last seminole chiefs that left florida around 1856 and '58 around that period of time. his name was holata miko and his kbli english name was billy bowlegs.
and billy bowlegs was famous during the indian civil wars because of his prowess in war and as a leader and as a diplomat, as well. but he was the last chief to leave florida and come here to the indian territory. and as you can see, this is seminole clothing of that time period. one of the famous warriors of the seminole conflicts, the united states conflicts with the seminoles was a person known as osceola, but the real pronunciation is, in the language. but here is a representation of an event that took place in history, when they were talking about removing the seminoles. and it was said that osceola came in there and drew his knife and he put his knife in that treaty that was being trented before the seminoles at this time. and he said, this is how
seminoles sign such treaties of this type. in other words, he was saying the seminoles want to remain in florida and they want to also live the life that the creator has made them to live. and that they did not want to move. so that's called defiance is name of this piece. the defiant one. >> this is actually a copy of that treaty that tennis associated with. this is a copy. and as you can see, this was the treaty of ft. gibson. because that was the treaty that the united states said that seminoles had agreed to move westward. and some say that's a crease mark and some say that it's actually the mark of the knife that osceola did at that time in history. let's take a look at this one. throughout the history of the seminoles, there was a component
of our history that dealt with people that were of african descent who were seeking freedom among the seminole people. and many of these were maroons, they were never slaves. some of whom were free people, they were not slaves. some of them were escaped slaves from the southern plantations, but many would come to seek refuge in the area of the florida territory. they lived outside of the seminole camps and seminole villages and had camps of their own, but they became very formidable allies with the seminoles throughout our history. at times, they fought with the seminoles for the freedom that they wanted for themselves. as well as for the seminoles wanted for them. they were never true slaves and the sense of southern alabama slavery to the seminole people, though. they would raise crops.
they would raise produce. and they would give certain percentage of that to the mikko, who was the chief of a certain tribal town. so it was that type of a relationship that was an exchange back in that time. and whatever you have a people that is bonded together for the sake of freedom, then you have a foe and the united states found that out, because of the 42 years of indian wars in florida with the seminole people. of course the seminole nation, as late as the 1890s, actually, earlier than that, there was learning institutions that was developed to educate seminole boys and girls. there was an early academy called sussequa academy, there was ramsey mission, which was a mission ran by presbyterians. there was also okay ridge mission school, actually in the
creek nation, but many seminoles went there. and then later in the 1890, '91 and '93, there were two large schools that was developed, totally under the watch of the seminole people themselves. and this particular school became known as emahoga and miccosukee mission. the architecture design of both of these schools were very similar, they basically looked very much alike. but one was a girl's academy, and miccosukee was a boy's academy. but eventually miccosukee became a coed school after a certain period of time. so they were the most modern facilities in the territory at that time. they had indoor plumbing, they had heated water, and things of that nature. which was not found in the 1880s and '90s here in the territory. so they were a majestic building at one time that many students would acquire education
opportunities in. this is a map that most people will consider. this is an actual map of an original map of what we called an allotment map. and if you were able to see all of these names written here, you would see the different tracts of land and different acres of land that was assigned to certain individuals during the general allotment act or what we called the dolls commission. came in and they were enrolling within that dolls commission. their duty was to be able to assign a number of each and every native person living at that time, because they wanted to take the land out of common of the tribe and divide it into individual land tracks. obviously, there would be surplus land, because there was more -- there was not as many
native people as there was land to be divided up. and many of those surplus tracks later in history would be settled by a non-native people. and even these allotment lands would eventually be lost due to different types of methods and policies that was enacted historically through the united states policy with american indians and in this case, seminoles. now, the original land track of the 1856 treaty was 2,169,080 acres. that was the land the seminoles originally called their home west of the mississippi. by the time the alomts began to be done, there was about 200,000 acres of land, and an additional track of land was purchased by the federal government and the land extended another 180,000 acres. so it still is a fraction of the
amount of land base that the seminoles originally had in their original treaties. so by the time that the oil boom, the oil was discovered in this area, there was measures and ways that much of this land was taken out of the individual land holder's name and it was no longer in the oversight of the elm kno seminole nation at one point in our history. this was 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, even until now, just recently, there was specific legislation assigned to the five civilized tribes. that would be the seminoles, the choctaws, and the cherokees. that particular language under the 1947 act, which is sometimes called the stigler act, there was components within that act that if your bloodline ever got below half bloodline, that land would be taken out of restricted
status, which was restricted to alien nation by the state or the county or the local community. but what that did is if the bloodline ever got below that, then that land would be taken out of restriction. and a lot of land was lost due to that. but just recently, in the last year, that has been stricken from that particular congressional act. it was an amendment done by the efforts of the five civilized tribes, the seminoles included in that. that eventually got that blood quantum to be waived so now with the limited lands that we still have left, about 11,000 acres of land, that are in individual land holdings, 500 acres of land and trust, which is not much at all, really, when you think about acreages of land, will e'e able to retain that as long as our families also want to retain that land and that same status,
because of that amendment that just took place in the last year. we have in the state capital, the state of oklahoma, a large 22-foot-tall statue called the guardian. and this guardian was constructed by a seminole man. his name is engoc kelly haney. he was a state senator, a state representative. he was an early planner in his early years for the seminole nation. and later, after serving at the state level in all of those different capacities, he also became the chief of the seminole nation for one term. but he's -- he's an outstanding, well-acknowledged artist of the seminole nation and both painting and also in sculpture,
as you can see. this is a miniature of that piece. "the guardian." and it stands in oklahoma city on the state capital dome of the capital of the state of oklahom oklahoma. >> if you'll take a look at some of this textile work, a lot of people associate, as far as clothing, this style of clothing with the seminoles. it's called seminole patchwork. very colorful. what you see is that if you see here, you can see that they're basically small pieces of material cut at certain angles. then resewed back together to create the beautiful designs that you see on the jackets, on the skirts, on some of the dolls that you see represented here. and in this particular case is a good example of early period
seminole bandolier bag. the artist is jay mcgarecht. and you can see that the intricacy of the beadwork is here with southeastern designs. there's many of tribes that had this style of a bandolier bag, and it may vary from one tribe to the next, but this most definitely is a seminole bandolier bag, which was worn by men in their traditional clothing and they would keep personal items inside the bag itself. the game of indian stick ball is very popular in the southeast today, especially among some colleges and some high schools actually have implemented the old southeastern woodland tribal game into some of their activities within their school systems. obviously, this is a game that has been played for thousands of years and it continues to be played among the seminole and five civilized tribes today.
as you can see, you have a set of ball sticks there, represented, and the webbing within the ball sticks. the balls are quite side. so on the -- what we call the match game, the east and west game, you'll have a large field. you'll have a goal shaped just like the one in the photograph there. and the object is to take the ball through there, but it's not as easy as it sounds, because you have a lot of others that are trying to keep you from doing that. it's an exciting game, even today, to see and watch being played. this image is from the early 1900st. as you can see, that was a time where we were very much sustainable as a tribe. we grew a lot of our old food. we still did a lot of hunting in that time. and you can see by the condition of the young men that they were in very fit condition. and even the older men, they
were in great physical health, as well. so it was something that we included within our culture and our traditions and it was our way of life. i'll touch a little bit on this. what we have here is we have a system, what we called the band system and the clan system. and this kind of has a breakdown about how one actually takes from his father's clan and his mother's clan, but you auz follow your mother's clan, although you acknowledge your father's clan and have relations with your father's clan, you're closer to the clan of your mother, because that's your clan. and as i touched on the bands, these were the bands as it was from the 1860s to the 1880s. and these were the names of the bands. and a lot of the bands, even though they had specific tribal town names, they may have went
by the chief of that tribal town, or maybe all of these different names were most likely the chiefs of those bands at this time. even though they had a distinctive tribal town name. okay. this is the military room. this is the military room. let me talk just a little bit about the military room. this section here, we have committed here at the seminole nation museum a whole wing to represent those who have served this country and have showed themselves in great valor while serving this nation in all the branches of the military. wewoka has always had a lot of soldiers that came from this area. many of whom were seminoles, many of whom were not seminoles, non-seminoles, but still the same, wewoka has always
represented well, there's always a lot of young men from this region that enlist in the military to uphold the freedoms of this country. now, what i want to talk about is a gentlemen that i had the opportunity to be able to take to washington as part of a delegation. his name was edmond andrew harjo. this is a image of him during world war ii. when we went to washington in 2013, to the capital to receive a congressional co-talkers medal, edmond went with us. and we were so glad that he was able to receive the congressional gold medal on behalf of the seminole nation and for his personal self, a silver medal, which was a congressional medal. >> today, we're meant to immortalize men who were, in a way, meeting for the first time. like edmond harjo, a member of
the seminole nation. and during the second world war, a member of the 195th field artillery battalion. one day in 1944, he was walking through an orchard in southern france and heard one of his brethrens singing under a tree. he recognized the dialect as creek. later on, a captain heard the two talking and immediately put them to work on opposite ends of a radio. that coincidence brought these two -- these men on to the stage of history and alongside that elite band that we call code talkers. edmonds is with us today and i ask all of you to join me in welcoming him here and thanking him for his service. [ applause ]
>> and he was the only living code talker at the commemoration, 20th of november, it was in 2013, though. but this little traveling exhibit was designed when we had an exhibit -- a much larger exhibit from the smithsonian, and we added a couple of three panels to it that was sharing the seminole code talkers that was also involved in world war ii. here we have edmond andrew harjo and we have tony palmer, who was also a code talker. so this is one of the on the congressional code of the seminoles, this is inscribed in it in our language, but it translates to, it is good to
climb and see. this was an actual message that was sent by parmesan to -- over the radio waves. so a lot of native tribes had code talkers. and i know at one point, you know, but for the congressional committee, as i was the one who was sharing before the congressional committee, there were some designs that were initially picked out, i believe, by the committee. we didn't necessarily totally agree with those particular design elements. and we began to share our story about our history of the seminoles. and well, i shared that. at one time in our history, the language that our people spoke actually wanted to be erat indica eradicated off the face of the earth. but that same language that was so fiercely fought against during the conflicts that people know as the seminole wars actually was the very same language that saved thousands of
american lives during world war ii. and once i explained to them our elements and what our desires were as far as the seminole nation, then the united states men in that particular committee agreed that the seminoles should have minted on their medal what they desire and it was a great time in our history as seminoles, but also as a personal moment in my life, as well. here in this wing is the margaret jane norman art gallery. margaret jane was a curator of the museum for many, many years. she was a teacher of art in the local high school at one point of her career and she was very much a supporter of the concepts of the seminole nation and the city of wewoka ought to have a
museum to share the rich culture and traditions of all the people that called wewoka her home. and because she was an art teacher in school and was very much interested in early native art work, she knew a lot of the artists of the 1940s and '50s and 1960s, and one component that the museum was able to do was to collect a lot of this art work. so the museum has a distinctive collection of native american art work. and at times, they display it at different intervals of time in the museum and throughout the museum and sometimes in the gallery. but right now they have a special art show that is a traveling art show called altars of reconciliation. and altars of reconciliation is basically a christiandom among native americans. of course, the seminoles also were introduced to christiandom
through the missionaries that worked within the public -- not the public schools, but the arranged schools that was built in the indian territory. so what you see here as an expression from several different artists that were a part of the show of altars of reconciliation. the seminole nation has always been considered one of the most less acultureated of the trips here in oklahoma. the seminole nation of oklahoma is the only tribe of the 39 federally recognized tribes still here in oklahoma that have a traditional form of government. so even though things have changed over the last couple of hundred of years, the seminoles are very much a strong people. they adapt to a controversial or adversarial climates that have been brought their way historically. and we still thrive as a people.
we still have our traditions, our customs and languages that are still continuing today. and seminoles will always be that way in our prospective. and as long as we keep those things that are most important and that's those things that tie to the family, the traditions of our extended families, our clans, our bands, our customs of the ceremonial grounds in the church, all of those components and elements really create a strong society as far as the seminoles are concerned. zpst my hope and my dream for that to continue for generations to come. >> you're watching a special edition of american history tv. during the week while members of congress are in their districts due to the coronavirus pandemic.
tonight, programs on the 25th anniversary of the oklahoma city bombing. beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern looking back at the morning of the attack. the investigation and the arrest of the perpetrators. and how the attack has been remembered. american history tv, now and over the weekend on c-span3. >> every saturday night, american history tv takes you to college classrooms around the country for lectures in history. >> why do you all know who lizzie borden is and raise your hand if you had ever heard of this murder, the gene harris murder trial before this class? >> the deepest cause where we'll find the true meaning of the revolution was in this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> we'll talk about both sides of this story here, the tools and techniques of slave owner power and also talk about the tools and technue