South Florida Tribal Communities

  • FIU Faculty and Indigenous Dancers posing at FIU
  • Indigenous storefront
  • Grandfather holding child

There are two federally recognized local tribal communities in South Florida, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. There are also Independent traditional Seminoles, who continue to live and protect the traditions of the Seminole people. Many people think of casinos when they think of our South Florida tribes, but that is only part of their economy. All tribal members of both communities are proud people with a rich heritage dating back before colonialism. Both Tribes have been groundbreaking in their legal battles and work toward recognition of sovereignty. The Seminole Tribe of Florida ensured the rights of all tribal nations, as determined by the U.S. Constitution, to govern themselves and their land, including decisions regarding economic development. The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida were the first to establish tribal governments’ rights to develop their education for their children rather than the federal government contracting with entities outside the tribal government for this service.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s land base is more significant than a municipality or county in Florida. The tribal council maintains and governs six reservations throughout Florida. Many are familiar with the Hollywood Casino and reservation location, but there is also the Big Cypress, Brighton, Fort Pierce, Immokalee, and Tampa reservations. They also have a state-of-the-art water treatment plant at Port Everglades and emergency management that is second to none. They are very active in business and are one of the leading beef producers, continuing to grow to meet the demand.

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida has a more traditional council with the leading priority focused on protecting the Everglades. If anyone ever wants to understand the Everglades as an ecosystem, an airboat ride with members of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians will start you well on your path.

Tribal members from both communities are warm and thoughtful but guarded with good reason. Their communities are essential, and the members work hard to protect the air, land, and water sacred to life.