The Historic 1954
Miccosukee Seminole Nation
delivered in Washington D.C. on
March 1, 1954)
Buckskin Ratification (Photo)
To the Most Honorable President of the United
States of America
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Our Most Solemn and Respectful Greetings:
We the General Council, being the governing body, of the
Mikasuki Tribe of Seminole Indians in the State of Florida, have met in formal
council in the Everglades in this time of decision to our Tribe and appeal to
you as a great leader of your people to dispense the justice which will preserve
our freedom, property rights and independence.
We, unconquered, have been at peace with your Nation for over
one hundred years. Our history tells us that in the past treaties have been made
with the Nations of Great Britain and Spain, recognizing and entitling us to
vast portions of lands in what is now known as the State of Florida.
When your Nation in 1821 made a treaty with the country of
Spain you agreed to recognize our property rights in such of those lands that at
that time were recognized by Spain. Subsequently your Nation made treaties with
our independent Nation, all of which were dishonored by your Nation either by
failure to act or by provoked wars.
Under the last treaty your Nation made with our Nation we were
entitled to all of those lands as shown by the "Map of the Seat of War in
Florida compiled by order of Brig. General Zachary Taylor, principally from the
Surveys and Reconnaissance of the Officers of the U. S. Army by Capt. John
MacKay and Lt. J. E. Blake" in 1839; as well as the lands due us under various
We, the Mikasuki Tribe of the Seminole Nation, have made no
requests of any kind upon your government since the McComb Treaty of 1839. We
have never asked for nor taken any assistance, in money or in any other thing,
from your Nation.
We have for over one hundred years lived on lands in the
Everglades, some of which were established as Indian Reservations, and for over
one hundred years we have not been discontent with our relationship, because you
let us alone and we left you alone. For over one hundred years we have not
allowed the conduct we have received from your government to disturb us in spite
of many insults to our Nation, chief of which has been the deliberate confusion
of our Mikasuki Tribe of Seminole Indians, governed by our General Council, with
the Muskogee Tribe of Seminole Indians in order to avoid recognition of our
tribal government, independence, rights and customs.
Now, and for the first time in over one hundred years, we are
obliged to address ourselves to your government.
There has been filed before the Indian Claims Commission in
your government, without our authority, a claim, supposedly by us, and
supposedly to compensate our Tribe with money for lands taken from us by the
United States Government in the past.
We want no money. (emphasis
The Congress of the United States we learn is considering laws to make us equal,
supposedly to White Men and to take away what little tribal lands your
government has left us, all under the theory that our Tribe wants to be or
should be treated as White Men with the rights of White Men to own individual
We have expressed our wishes, our customs and our view as a Tribe through our
General Council which governs us to your government officials but have been ig-
nored, given little courtesy and much insult, had your local Indian Agent
interfering in our internal affairs and had your Secretary of the Interior tell
us to change the form of government under which we have lived for centuries.
We have, and have had for centuries, our own culture, our own
customs, our own government, our own language, and our own way of life which is
different from the government, the culture, the customs, the language, and the
way of life of the White Man. We do not say that we are superior or inferior to
the White Man and we do not say that the White Man is superior or inferior to
We do say that we are not White Men but Indians, do not wish
to become White Men but wish to remain Indians, and have an outlook on all of
these things different from the outlook of the White Man. We do not wish to own
lands because our land is for all of us. We live on our land, which is the land
of all of our Tribe, and we live from our land which is the land of all of our
Tribe. We have failed to have your Indian Agent or your Secretary of the
Interior or your other government officials understand our outlook.
We are therefore solemnly and respectfully requesting that you
appoint a special representative to act for you, who is not connected with any
branch of your government, who is fair and impartial, and who will be instructed
by you to meet with us so that we may make ourselves understood to him, so that
he may try to understand us, and so that a satisfactory agreement can be reached
between your Nation and our Nation on the preservation of the lands to which we
are entitled under all past treaties, under the law of nations, and under
justice; and the recognition of our tribal government, the General Council, so
that we and you may live together in this land which was all once our land.
Signed this 26 day of February 1954, by the
(by their X)
Sam Jones Micco Ingraham Billie Jimmie
Oscar Hoe Frank Charlie Jimmie Henry
Willie Jim George Osceola Jack Clay
Translated, interpreted and witnessed . . . .