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Miccosukee Seminole Nation Frontier
CURRENT INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Miccosukee Seminole Nation (MSN) Meets with Cuban Government to Sign
Treaty of Recognition, Friendship, and Mutual Assistance
Miccosukee Seminole Nation (MSN)
Arrival in Cuba
MAKES TREATY IN CUBA
by Bob Reno
Seminoles Win Cuban Approval
By Bob Reno
Cont. from page 1
"...extend their visit for another week.
The visit of the Indians reached diplomatic proportions when the Miccosukees presented
Castro with a declaration written on buckskin praising his "victory over tyranny and
oppression" and giving the revolutionary government formal recognition.
In return, Castro recognized, "duly constituted government of the sovereign Miccosukee Seminole nation."
Castro in a signed document, saluted the Miccosukee leaders for "the long struggle of
your Miccosukee Nation and the perseverance and courage of your indomitable and
* From p. 182 Harry A. Kersey Jr., AN ASSUMPTION OF
SOVEREIGNTY, (University of Nebraska Press 1996)
* The Miccosukee contingent, including Homer Osceola, Buffalo
Tiger, and other members of the Council, as well as Morton Silver, Sought and received
Castro's recognition as an independent nation. This drew a withering blast from the
Miami Herald's editorial page: "The silly season seems to be with us again. It
blossomed in a bit of grandstanding by a dozen of Florida's Seminole Indians. They
junketed to Cuba for the big doings in Havana last weekend. There they swapped
documents with premier Fidel Castro...The Cuban gambit was the latest in a long series of
headlines hunting antics by this ill-advised
(Italics and emphasis supplied) group, which must embarrass most of the one
thousand Seminoles in Florida...(Miami Herald, 29 July 1959, 6A)...The reservation
Seminoles voiced their displeasure with the Miccosukees and moved to distance themselves
from the action "these people don't speak for us" says Mike Osceola (Miami
Herald 4 August 1959 p. 5C).
From p. 184 of Harry Kersey, An Assumption of Sovereignty
The Cuba venture became a pivotal issue in negotiations with the
Bureau. Years later Buffalo Tiger recalled,
When Castro took over Cuba, he wanted us to come over as his guests. We went and were treated ok. When we got back the United States said ok,
dont go back. Promise you wont, and you
will be Miccosukees We
needed our own power and we had to go to Cuba to get it (Italics and
emphasis supplied) *
* A Tale of Two Tribes, (Florida Times
Union, 3 June 1986, special supplement 15)
-- Buffalo Tiger, of the Miccosukee Indian
tribe, December 1997 interview
From p. 18K THE MIAMI HERALD,
January 1, 2000.
"...The government wanted to
pay us money to shut up. We wanted land set aside for us and to be left alone. No
one in Washington would listen to us. So when [Fidel] Castro took over [in 1959], I went
over there and smoked some cigars with him and Che Guevara and I asked them: 'Do you
recognize the Miccosukee Tribe?' Castro said he did. He said that if the United States
would not give us a place to live, we were welcome to go over there and he would make room
for us. When we got back, there were all kinds of phone calls from Washington.
The government started dealing with us
and emphasis supplied)
(at this point the December 1961 issue
of the "Seminole Indian
News" (the then first and only newspaper of the Miccosukee Seminole Indians)
reported the following significant news story (4th edition,
"U.S. PLANNING 3rd FLA. TRIBE"
"The U.S. Interior Dept. is pushing ahead with its plans to organize a third tribe of
puppet Indians in an effort to wreck the many years of negotiations and agreements with
our Miccosukee Tribe," charged Homer Osceola, Co-Chairman of the Miccosukee Tribal
"We predicted this when we gave this story to the newspapers last October.
They obviously plan to try to trick the public into
believing that what their puppets do has been authorized by our Miccosukee Tribe.
"If they go through with this shenanigan, it will be the biggest fraud on the
Seminoles since the fake so-called treaty of Paynes Landing over 100 years ago. And
we want the American public to know what is going on here....."
(in this regard, it is interesting to
also note the following excerpt from Peter Matthiessen's book "INDIAN COUNTRY"
(The Viking Press, New York, 1984) at pp. 62-63) (re-typed for clarity):
"In early January of 1983, the state of Florida granted Buffalo Tiger's
Miccosukee Tribe its long-sought lease on 189,000 acres of the FCD's Conservation Area No.
3, together with $975,000 for "economic development." In the opinion of
the Osceola family, the lease contract is a government payoff to a "puppet
Indian." As Homer Osceola told a reporter for the Miami Herald on January
9, 1983, "He's not doing things the Indian way at all. He can't live like the
old Indians used to live. . . . If the Indian people are going to change, let nature
change them not some money-hungry guy telling them what to do. Far as we're
concerned, Florida is not part of the United States in the first place, because we've
never been conquered. . . . How can the white man give it to us when we already own it?
To this, Buffalo Tiger retorted, "Just because their last name is Osceola, they still
think they're great leaders like Chief Osceola, but they're wrong. The man died
long, long ago. These people better wake up and be like everybody else."
Hearing that he had been criticized for driving a "1983 gold-colored
Cadillac," he said, "It's only an '82, but it runs pretty good."
In recognizing Tiger's disputed right to speak for all his Miccosukee people, the U.S.
government and the state of Florida tried to extinguish all future treaty claims by
Florida Indians, and President
Reagan, who signed the agreement into law, promptly received
an angry letter protesting the unlawful sale of "our Everglades homeland" by
"Mr. Tiger and his fake tribe." The letter was written on ancient
stationary that still carried the name of Buffalo Tiger, who had resigned from the General
Council in 1961; it was signed by Homer, Howard, Bill, John, Leroy, and William Osceola,
together with a nephew, Rainey Jim."