• The Indian Plight

    Almost from the time the first colonists arrived in North America, their relationships with the native people were troubled. The Indians believed that the Earth gave them everything they needed and couldn’t be bought or sold. Because of this philosophy, most tribes didn’t develop permanent settlements or believe they owned the land.

    Europeans, on the other hand, embraced the concept of land ownership and quickly staked their claims. Their weapons and horses offered a significant advantage over the Indians’ defenses. The Europeans brought diseases, such as smallpox, which devastated Indian tribes. Indians fought back when the Europeans took their lands, but every tribe was eventually defeated. Some tribes were completely destroyed!


    Fun Facts

    • After the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Americans were filled with the hope of new lands and prosperity. Many of them wanted to go west.
    • In 1830, President Andrew Jackson, along with Congress, passed the Indian Removal Act. This law gave the government power to seize Indian lands and force the Indians to move west of the Mississippi River.
    • The Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole Indians, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, lived in the southeast United States. These Indians had tried to adapt to European ways. They lived in settlements, attended church, sent their children to school, and wore traditional “white men’s” clothing. In spite of this, they were forced to leave their homes. The Cherokee Indians of Georgia walked thousands of miles to Oklahoma. Twenty-five percent of them died along the way. The journey was called “The Trail of Tears.”
    • The Seminole Indian tribe in Florida resisted the U.S. government for several years. From 1817 to 1858, the Seminoles engaged in three wars with the U.S. military. During this time, over 3,000 Seminole Indians were moved west of the Mississippi. But about 300 Seminoles escaped into the swamps where they hid until the late 1800s. They finally emerged in the early 1900s and began openly working and trading in Florida.
    • In 1970, the government gave the Seminole Indians $12,347,500 for the lands that had been taken from them.


    1. Philosophy: a particular way of thinking
    2. Concept: an idea
    3. Advantage: favorable or superior circumstances

    Questions and Answers

    Question: Where do the remaining Indian tribes live now?

    Answer: Most Native Americans today live on reservations, which are lands set apart by the federal government for their use. Unfortunately, most of this land is of poor quality, in remote areas, or subject to fierce weather conditions.

    Learn More

    Visit The Seminole Tribe of Florida to learn more about the brave, proud Seminoles.





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