The Calusa-Seminole Indian Nation

of California, Central Florida & Maui, HI

The Aboriginal American

Who We Are

Text Box: The Calusa-Seminole Indian Nation of California and Central Florida … has been a federally recognized tribe since 1821, with the signing of the Moultrie Creek Treaty in north-central Florida.  We still practice our ancient ancestral culture and operate under the Constitution, which was ratified by the United States government in 1823.  The Calusa-Seminole Indian Reservation called Coe Harjo Town, was the first U.S. federally recognized tribe in the state of Florida.  It was located on the Oklevueha River (the only river in the United States that runs south to north). 

In the late 1820’s and early 1830’s the U.S. Cavalry, through the signing of the “Removal Act” of 1833, began relocating our people west of the Mississippi River into what was then called “Indian Territory”.  A trial run of this relocation act sent many of our people to Arkansas.  Hunting was poor and living there was not as promised.  Instead it was unbearable, and so many of our people returned to Florida and took up where they had left off in their ancient ancestral homelands.  This perturbed the U.S. government and so as early as August 24, 1824, Congress initiated an “Arms Occupation Act” or “ Arms Bearing Act”, which involved using settlers, militia and the Cavalry to prevent Indians from “squatting” on their own homeland.  

Thus, wars ensued and forced marches were made by the soldiers, which later became known as the Trail of Tears, where Calusa-Seminoles were rounded up by the military and sent to military forts.  Later they were sent to Indian Territory.  The Calusa-Seminole were recognized for many years as a brave and daring band of people who never surrendered to the aforementioned way of life.  Instead, their leaders took them off the Trail of Tears and marched the entire nation to New Spain (Mexico) and settled in Nacimiento, Sonora, Mexico.

During the 1840’s through the 1860’s, many U.S. Government verses Native American wars continued, especially throughout the Southwestern states.  It became apparent that foreign soldiers were incapable and ill-equipped to penetrate the lines and forces of the Native American warriors.   Therefore, they recruited the Calusa-Seminole of Nacimiento with a promise that if we were to assist in cleaning up the Texas Border Territory Country of renegade Indians and outlaws who were terrorizing the settlers, that the U.S. government would reward us with so many leagues of land for our efforts.   These “heroes” performed their task so well that they became known as the “Black Guardian Angels of the Texas Border Territories”.  These were the first Texas Rangers.  After a job was well done by these men who later became known as the “Buffalo Soldiers”, the government did not honor their part of the deal, and no land was issued as had been promised.  As a result, many of the families returned to Nacimiento, Mexico.  Some sought refuge in other Indian villages, while others continued westward to California to live with our California relations. 

Those who remained in the military were in such high demand that they were recruited as protectors of the San Francisco Presidio and would even guard and ride patrol throughout the pristine areas of Yosemite National Park– keeping herds of sheep and cattle out of the park, as well as preventing lumber jacks from cutting down the giant Sequoia Redwood trees.  
May we remind you that these gallant soldiers were not “Euro-American”, but instead “Native American” troops, which meant that as aborigines their families accompanied them wherever their responsibilities carried them– whether it was on the prairies, the battlefields or n the hot desert lands.  Warriors and wives lived and worked together as many families had come with the soldiers to California.

Our people joined their Colusa Indian relations of California who were the largest tribe of Indians in central California.  They lived as far north as the mouth of the Feather River near Sacramento, and were later Imprisoned on the Colusa Indian Reservation. More of our tribe were relocated from Florida to join the others on the reserve.  Our people also lived from the San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey areas in the winter months, eastward towards the Sierra Nevada mountains, north to Stockton and south to the Fresno areas during the summer months.  To date, we still live in the summer village area near Merced Falls California Indian Reservation, which was the first Native American reserve in California– 1851.   Our headquarters are located in Santa Cruz- our Winter Village.  Our Florida Reservation was never terminated with an Act of Congress, which  means that we have always remained a federally recognized tribe. However, we re-petitioned the U.S. Government for reinstatement of “Federal Recognition” in April of 1998.  As of January 2001, we have been granted this reinstatement but have yet to be placed on the Active List of the Federal Register.

1993-Thunder Horse praying in  Jupiter, Florida.