The Ikaniuksalgi, or “the people of the peninsula” (today more commonly referred to as the Seminoles), arrived in Florida late in the eighteenth century. Although other Indians previously inhabited the peninsula, European diseases and wars, along with the immigration of southeastern Indians devastated the aboriginal population. Those few remaining Florida Indians who survived eventually, for the most part, allied and assimilated themselves with the incoming Creeks, other exiled Indians, and runaway slaves seeking freedom. The Creeks’ Muscogee language became the more prevalent in the peninsula, and influenced the generalized grouping of the Florida Indians. But political factors, racial identity, and race relations contributed heavily to the genesis of a new consolidating Seminole identity.
Although the first Seminoles were mostly Creeks, they also included a wide range of Southeastern Indian groups. Many migrated south looking for better crop lands and game overhunted in the north, and to escape wars with Euro-Americans and enemy Indians. By the time the U.S. occupied Florida, government officials had not yet imposed the general term “Seminole” to most, if not all, Florida Indians as a recognized tribal entity.…show more content… Southeastern inclusion of Africans among them stemmed from a different concept of race than European construct because kinship counted for more than physical appearance. Southern Whites’ fears of an uprising led to efforts to minimize black participation in Florida, yet maximize their influence on the forced removal of Indians, and war to accomplish this. The cooperation among these mixed groups of people in Florida revealed a more complex situation beyond racial boundaries, and different from the segregation of its neighboring