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The Urban American Indian Collective- FIND YOUR TRIBE!

Black Indigenous Seminoles & A Look At -Morning Dew- Wife Of Seminole Warrior Osceola

Osceola was a Creek warrior who remained unconquered during the Second Seminole War.

Osceola rose to prominence during the Second Seminole War, where his brilliant guerrilla tactics in the Florida swamps earned him the admiration and respect of the many United States Army officers who tried to capture him. He remained unconquered in war. Originally an Upper Creek Red Stick born in Alabama, accounts vary on Osceola's lineage because of his early name of Billy Powell and his later denial of any white ancestry. According to William and Ellen Hartley in Osceola The Unconquered Indian, some historians decided that white trader William Powell was Osceola's stepfather and that Billy Powell was a nickname for the young Indian who was really fathered by a Creek warrior. However, because Creek and Seminole inheritance was matrilineal, Osceola was correct in his later insistence that, "No foreign blood runs in my veins; I am a pure-blood Muskogee [Creek]." Osceola's mother was Polly Copinger, a Creek woman. Whether his stepfather or not, for at least a time William Powell lived with the family as Osceola's father, but Powell was frequently gone and later left permanently.

Seminole couple. Photo credit: unknown

Seminole, Creek and Yamassee aboriginals shared history throughout their contact with the invading Europeans and were sometimes known as the same people. They shared bloodlines before and after colonial contact as they occupied much of the south easthern part of the United States. Many Yamassee women married Seminole men. As European domination begin to spread the impact was devastating. According to Yamassee Nation's history, Slave Codes affected the Yamassee, more than any other group of Indians. They had the largest group of tribal people and factually were described as “Black” or “Negro.” They also were considered darker than the “Creeks” a new word coined by Europeans to describe Yamassee bands or clans found on river banks or creeks. Even being referenced in congressional records as the -Africans who lived on the islands long before the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.-

Wars between Europeans and other Indian tribes could have lead to these Black indians now being labled as "Black/Negro Slaves" (prisoners of war) once defeated.

Seminole/Yamassee woman (What Osceola's wife may have looked like). Photo credit: Yamassee Nation's facebook page

In the book 100 Amazing Facts About The Negro With Complete Proof, author J. A. Rogers writes this about Osceola's first wife Morning Dew (Che-cho-ter); "In 1836, the Negro wife of Osceola, a Seminole chief of Indian-Negro decent was seized as a slave. Osceola, in revenge, ambushed, killed and scalped U. S. General Thompson, and three other white men. Thus began the Second Seminole War. Osceola, says J.R. Giddings, "visited Fort King in company with his wife and a few friends for the puropse of trading. Mr. Thompson, the Agent, was present and while engaged in business the wife of Osceola was seized as a slave. Evidently having Negro blood in her veins the law pronounced her a slave and as no other person could show title to her the pirate who had got possession of her body was supposed, of course, to be her owner....Osceola became frantic with rage...From that moment when this outrage was commited the Florida War may be regarded as commenced."

Modern Day Black Seminole women. Photo via: simplyembroiderynana

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