The United States was once home to hundreds of different Native American tribes. The Seminole Indians, whom were indigenous to the state of Florida, first settled in the area sometime around 10,000 BC. This tribe had a rich culture, and the people enjoyed making beadwork and baskets known as "sweetgrass" baskets, a tradition that still carries on today. The Seminole's homes were called chikee style houses, a large thatch of palmetto leaves with a pole in the center. The palmetto leaves were draped over a cypress tree frame. Their language was called Muskogee, and it is difficult to pronounce by today's English standards, but many people are working to keep the language alive. Florida was full of abundant waterways teeming with fish and other life. This made the perfect home for the Seminoles, where they could hunt and fish with ease.
In 1732, settlers headed towards the south into Florida. The Seminole Indians were soon forced to travel toward the west, as people from Georgia and other states made their way to Florida. Sadly, many of the Seminoles were captured as slaves. Others died of various diseases, or moved themselves into other tribes. This event had a serious affect on the tribe, as it changed their population, location, and many believe it is where the name Seminole came from: "the people whom the Sun God does not love." Many stayed in Florida, but they were forced to work for money by helping the settlers farm the land.
In 1957, the Seminole Indians ratified their official constitution after many years of struggle. In it, they declared themselves the official Seminole Tribe of Florida. This historic moment meant that the native tribes people finally got the recognition they so deserved. After years of oppression and forced slavery by Americans who wanted to take over the land, they were finally given sovereignty. In 1970, an even larger event occurred. The American military had forced the Seminole Indians out of their own territory in the past. A group called the Indian Claims Commission awarded the tribe $12 million to reimburse the people for the land that had been stolen.