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Miccosukee Indian Fact Sheet

Native American Facts For Kids was written for young people learning about the Miccosukees for school or home-schooling reports. We encourage students and teachers to visit our main Miccosukee website pages for in-depth information about the tribe, but here are our answers to the questions we are most often asked by children, with Miccosukee pictures and links we believe are suitable for all ages.




  Miccosukee Tribe

How do you pronounce the word "Miccosukee"? What does it mean?
Miccosukee is pronounced "mick-uh-SOO-kee." It comes from the Miccosukee word for "chief." Sometimes it is spelled Mikasuki instead.

Are the Miccosukees Seminole people?
No, but some Seminoles are Miccosukee people. The Seminole tribe was originally an alliance between certain Creek, Miccosukee, Hitchiti, Oconee, and other Florida and Georgia Indians. Most Miccosukee people joined the Seminoles, but others still consider themselves distinct.

Where do the Miccosukees live?
The Miccosukees are original people of southern Georgia and northern Florida.

How is the Miccosukee Indian nation organized?
The Miccosukee tribe has their own reservation, which is land that belongs to them and is legally under their control. Not all Miccosukee people live on this reservation, however. Most Miccosukee people live on the two Seminole reservations in Oklahoma and Florida.

Each of these three tribes has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, the Miccosukees and Seminoles are also US citizens and must obey American law.

What language do the Miccosukees speak?
Most Miccosukee people speak English today, but some people, especially elders, also speak their native Mikasuki language. If you'd like to know a few easy Mikasuki words, chehuntamo (pronounced chee-hun-tah-moh) is a friendly greeting and shonabish (pronounced shoh-nah-bish) means "thank you." You can also read a Miccosukee picture glossary here.

Today Mikasuki is an endangered language because most children aren't learning it anymore. However, some Miccosukee people are working to keep their language alive.

What was Miccosukee culture like in the past? What is it like now?
Here is a link to the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, where you can learn about the Miccosukee people past and present.

How do Miccosukee Indian children live, and what did they do in the past?
They do the same things all children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Miccosukee children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play, just like colonial children. But they did have beaded dolls, toys and games. Stickball, a lacrosse-like game. was a popular sport among teenage boys as it was among adult men. Miccosukee mothers, like many Native Americans, traditionally carried their babies in cradleboards on their backs. Here is a website with pictures of cradleboards and other Native baby carriers.

What were Miccosukee homes like in the past?
The Miccosukee people lived in settled villages of houses called chickees. Chickees were made of wood and plaster, and the roofs were thatched with palmetto fiber. As the Miccosukee tribe moved south into the Everglades, they began building their houses on wooden stilts. This raised the floor two or three feet off the ground and protected their homes from flooding and swamp animals. Here are some pictures of chickees like the ones Miccosukee Indians used. Today, Native Americans only build a chickee for ceremonial reasons or for decoration, not for shelter. Most Miccosukees live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.

What was Miccosukee clothing like? Did they wear feather headdresses and face paint?
Miccosukee men wore breechcloths. Miccosukee women wore wraparound skirts woven from palmetto fiber. Shirts were not necessary in Miccosukee culture, but the Miccosukees did wear mantles in cool weather. Miccosukee Indians also wore moccasins on their feet. In colonial times, the Miccosukees adapted European costume into their own characteristic styles, including turbans, long tunics, and patchwork skirts. Here is a webpage with pictures of traditional Miccosukee dress, and here are some photographs and links about Indian clothes in general.

The Miccosukees didn't wear feather headdresses like the Sioux. Miccosukee men usually shaved their heads except for a single scalplock, and sometimes they would also wear a porcupine roach. (These headdresses were made of porcupine hair, not their sharp quills!) Miccosukee women usually wore their long hair in topknots or buns. Here is a website with pictures of Indian hair. The Miccosukees wore elaborate tribal tattoos, but rarely painted their faces.

Today, some Miccosukee people still wear moccasins or a patchwork skirt, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths... and they only wear roaches in their hair on special occasions like a dance.

What was Miccosukee transportation like in the days before cars? Did they paddle canoes?
Yes--the Miccosukee Indians made flat dugout canoes from hollowed-out cypress logs. They usually steered these boats with poles rather than paddles. Here's a website with pictures of Indian dugout canoes. Over land, the Miccosukees used dogs as pack animals. (There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe.) Today, of course, Miccosukee people also use cars... and non-native people also use canoes.

What was Miccosukee food like in the days before supermarkets?
The Miccosukee were farming people. Miccosukee women did most of the farming, harvesting crops of corn, beans, and squash. Miccosukee men did most of the hunting and fishing, catching game such as deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, turtles, and alligators. Miccosukee dishes included cornbread, soups, and stews. Here is a website with more information about Native American food.

What were Miccosukee weapons and tools like in the past?
Miccosukee hunters primarily used bows and arrows. Fishermen generally used fishing spears. In war, Miccosukee men fired their bows or fought with tomahawks and lances. Here is a website with pictures and information about Native Indian weapons.

What are Miccosukee arts and crafts like?
The Miccosukees were known for their baskets, woodcarvings, Indian beadwork, and patchwork designs.

What other Native Americans did the Miccosukee tribe interact with?
The Miccosukees traded regularly with all the other Southeast Native Americans, especially the Choctaw and the Cherokee. These tribes communicated using a simplified trade language called Mobilian Jargon. But the most important Miccosukee neighbors were the Creeks. Many Creek and Miccosukee people, along with some individuals from other southeastern tribes, joined together to create the powerful Seminole tribe. The Creeks and Miccosukees formed this alliance to fight against Europeans who were taking their land.

What kinds of stories do the Miccosukees tell?
There are lots of traditional Miccosukee legends and fairy tales. Storytelling is very important to the Miccosukee Indian culture. Here is a story about the origin of the Seminole clans. Here's a website where you can read more about Mikasuki mythology.

What about Miccosukee religion?
Religions are too complicated and culturally sensitive to describe appropriately in only a few simple sentences, and we strongly want to avoid misleading anybody. You can visit this site to learn more about Miccosukee rituals or this site about Native American religion in general.

Can you recommend a good book for me to read?
You may enjoy The Wonderful Sky Boat, which is a collection of traditional tales from several Southeasten tribes including the Miccosukees. Patchwork: Seminole and Miccosukee Art and Activities is a good book with craft activities as well as cultural information. There are also several good stories for kids about the Seminole tribe (which many Miccosukees belonged to.) One is Indian Shoes, a charming collection of short stories about a contemporary Cherokee-Seminole boy and his grandfather. Another is Night Bird, which is historical fiction about the relocation of many Seminoles to Oklahoma. A third is Seminole Diary, which is the compelling story of two escaped slaves who join the Seminole tribe. You can also browse through our reading list of recommended American Indian books in general.

How do I cite your website in my bibliography?
You will need to ask your teacher for the format he or she wants you to use. The authors' names are Laura Redish and Orrin Lewis and the title of our site is Native Languages of the Americas. We are a nonprofit educational organization working to preserve and protect Native American languages and culture. You can learn more about our organization here. Our website was first created in 1998 and last updated in 2013.

Thanks for your interest in the Miccosukee Indian people and their language!

Learn More About The Miccosukees

Miccosukee Indian Tribe
An overview of the Miccosukee people, their language and history.

Miccosukee Language Resources
Miccosukee language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Miccosukee Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Miccosukee people past and present.

Mikasuki Words
Miccosukee Indian vocabulary lists.



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