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Miccosukee are a Native American tribe living in Floridamarker. They are descendants of the Lower Chiaha, a Muskogee Creek tribe and have had centuries of relations with the Seminole but maintain a separate identity today, largely on linguistic grounds. Unlike the Creek-speaking Seminole, they speak the Mikasuki language, another of the Muskogean languages. Their original home was in the Tennessee Valley, where they were originally one with the Upper Chiaha, but they later migrated first to the Carolinas when the former migrated to northern Alabamamarker, then to northern Florida during the 18th and 19th centuries, forming a major part of the Seminole tribe; they moved again to the Evergladesmarker after the Seminole Warsmarker. During this period they mixed heavily with the Creek-speaking Seminoles, but many of them maintained their Mikasuki language. The tribe today occupies several reservation in southern Florida, principally the Miccosukee Indian Reservation.

The tribe separated from the Seminole in the 1950s to become the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida; they were recognized by the state of Florida in 1957, and received federal recognition in 1962. Other members went on to form the Miccosukee Seminole Nation, which is unrecognized in the United States but was recognized by Fidel Castro's Cubanmarker government in 1959. The tribe split and reorganized under the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) and was federally recognized on January 11, 1962.

The etymological roots of the Miccosukee tribal name have been debated for many years. While the origins have not been fully traced or documented, modern scholarship holds that the name was given by the first Spanishmarker colonizers to reach the North Carolinamarker Basin. In one of the only surviving journals of Juan Ponce de León he records that his men called the natives they encountered there micos sucios in what is likely the earliest recorded version of the name that became "Miccosukee." He describes how the name originated:

When we arrived on the shores of the Northern islands we encountered an odd group of natives. They lead us to their village where they lived in hollow'd mounds and were fully covered in mud and refuse. My lieutenant, [Diaz de la Torre y Gonzaga-Palacios] exclaimed 'Son como micos sucios' (they are like dirty monkeys). From thence forth, until we departed those cold shores, Mico Sucio was the means by which we referred to these happy natives.


University of Miami

At the University of Miamimarker in Coral Gables, Floridamarker, various Miccosukee traditions have reportedly been incorporated into the secret initiation ceremony of the Iron Arrow Honor Society. Induction and membership in the Iron Arrow Honor Society is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a University of Miami student.

Business interests

The tribe operates a resort and casino in Miami, Floridamarker. The resort is a primary sponsor of the Miccosukee Championship, a PGA event held in October. Sports sponsorship also extends to multiple NASCAR teams, including the 2009 Aaron's 499 winning Sprint Cup Series car driven by Brad Keselowski, a Camping World truck driven by Kyle Busch, a Nationwide Car driven by Mike Bliss. The Miccosukee relationship with NASCAR dates back to 2002.

References

  1. Letter of US Recognition
  2. CUBAN Recognition 1959
  3. Journal Of Etymological Studies Issue 15.12 Pgs 34-56
  4. Translation by R. J. Evans-Fitzgerald
  5. "Arrow Heads", Miami Magazine, Fall 2000.
  6. University of Miami Official Web Site.
  7. http://www.nascar.com/2002/news/headlines/wc/03/04/gbodine_sched/index.html
Miccosukee Tribe

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