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Southeastern Native American Tribes (Special Collections): Seminole

This research guide identifies Special Collections materials related to Cherokee, Chocktaw, Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw Native Americans from 1782 to 2011.


The Seminole Nation was formed in the early 18th century from the remnants of the indigenous peoples of Florida and members of the Lower Creek Nation who had moved southward. They had an uneasy relationship with the United States. The Seminole frequently conducted military raids in Georgia, and the U.S. Army conducted operations in Florida to recapture runaway slaves. The First Seminole War (1817-1818) began as one of these incursions. Shortly after the U.S. gained formal control of Florida in 1821, American settlers began agitating for the removal of the Seminole. Some of the tribes signed the Treaty of Payne’s Landing in 1832 and moved westward. Others retreated into the Everglades, where they remained until the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). After 1842, the government capitulated and left the remaining Seminole in relative peace. The Seminole tribe in Florida gained sovereignty over their lands in 1957, and approximately 3,000 Seminole live in Florida today. An additional 6,000 live in the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma.

Digital Resources


Jane Lancaster Research Papers, 1970s-1990 (MS.2824)
These papers include research notes, bibliography, research correspondence, and photocopies of territorial maps and articles used for Lancaster's book Removal Aftershock: the Seminoles' Struggles to Survive in the West, 1836-1866.

U.S. Congress Bills HR757, HR845, and HR916, 1836 December 21-1837 February 20 (MS.3593)
These bills deal with finances associated with Indian affairs and Tennessee soldiers from the Second Seminole War.

Rare Books

The Authority of General Jackson to Invade Florida, as Disclosed in the Rhea Letter. 1917 (E83.817.K56 1917)

Causes of Hostilities of Seminole Indians. 1836 (E99.S28U56 1836)

Letters from the Frontiers Written During a Period of Thirty Years’ Service in the Army of the United States. 1868 (F296.M12) 

Memorial of the Field Officers Commanding the Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Gun-Men. 1821 (E83.817.M45 1821)

The Seminole Indians of the State of Florida, Petitioner, v. United States of America, Defendent. 1963 (E99.S28U5)

The Seminoles of Florida. 1896 (E99.S28 W7 1896)

Special Collections and University Archives

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Special Collections
121 Hodges Library
1015 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996

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