Miccosukee Seminole Nation Frontier
CURRENT INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
TREATY WITH CUBA
Miccosukee Seminole Nation (MSN) Meets with Cuban Government to Sign Treaty of Recognition, Friendship, and Mutual Assistance
MICCOSUKEE SEMINOLES NATION
MAKES TREATY IN CUBA
by Bob Reno
Seminoles Win Cuban Approval
By Bob Reno
“…extend their visit for another week.
The visit of the Indians reached diplomatic proportions when the Miccosukees presented Castro with a declaration written on buckskin praising his “victory over tyranny and oppression” and giving the revolutionary government formal recognition.
In return, Castro recognized, “duly constituted government of the sovereign Miccosukee Seminole nation.”
Castro in a signed document, saluted the Miccosukee leaders for “the long struggle of your Miccosukee Nation and the perseverance and courage of your indomitable and freedom-loving people…”
* From p. 182 Harry A. Kersey Jr., AN ASSUMPTION OF SOVEREIGNTY, (University of Nebraska Press 1996)
* The Miccosukee contingent, including Homer Osceola, Buffalo Tiger, and other members of the Council, as well as Morton Silver, Sought and received Castro’s recognition as an independent nation. This drew a withering blast from the Miami Herald’s editorial page: “The silly season seems to be with us again. It blossomed in a bit of grandstanding by a dozen of Florida’s Seminole Indians. They junketed to Cuba for the big doings in Havana last weekend. There they swapped documents with premier Fidel Castro…The Cuban gambit was the latest in a long series of headlines hunting antics by this ill-advised (Italics and emphasis supplied) group, which must embarrass most of the one thousand Seminoles in Florida…(Miami Herald, 29 July 1959, 6A)…The reservation Seminoles voiced their displeasure with the Miccosukees and moved to distance themselves from the action “these people don’t speak for us” says Mike Osceola (Miami Herald 4 August 1959 p. 5C).
From p. 184 of Harry Kersey, An Assumption of Sovereignty
The Cuba venture became a pivotal issue in negotiations with the Bureau. Years later Buffalo Tiger recalled, “When Castro took over Cuba, he wanted us to come over as his guests. We went and were treated ok. When we got back the United States said “ok, don’t go back. Promise you wont, and you will be Miccosukees” “We needed our own power and we had to go to Cuba to get it” (Italics and emphasis supplied) *
* ”A Tale of Two Tribes,” (Florida Times Union, 3 June 1986, special supplement 15)
From p. 18K THE MIAMI HERALD, Saturday January 1, 2000.
“…The government wanted to pay us money to shut up. We wanted land set aside for us and to be left alone. No one in Washington would listen to us. So when [Fidel] Castro took over [in 1959], I went over there and smoked some cigars with him and Che Guevara and I asked them: ‘Do you recognize the Miccosukee Tribe?’ Castro said he did. He said that if the United States would not give us a place to live, we were welcome to go over there and he would make room for us. When we got back, there were all kinds of phone calls from Washington.
The government started dealing with us seriously then.” (Italics and emphasis supplied)
— Buffalo Tiger, of the Miccosukee Indian tribe, December 1997 interview
(at this point the December 1961 issue of the “Seminole Indian News” (the then first and only newspaper of the Miccosukee Seminole Indians) reported the following significant news story
(4th edition, p. 1):
“U.S. PLANNING 3rd FLA. TRIBE“
“The U.S. Interior Dept. is pushing ahead with its plans to organize a third tribe of puppet Indians in an effort to wreck the many years of negotiations and agreements with our Miccosukee Tribe,” charged Homer Osceola, Co-Chairman of the Miccosukee Tribal Executive Council.
“We predicted this when we gave this story to the newspapers last October.
They obviously plan to try to trick the public into believing that what their puppets do has been authorized by our Miccosukee Tribe.
“If they go through with this shenanigan, it will be the biggest fraud on the Seminoles since the fake so-called treaty of Paynes Landing over 100 years ago. And we want the American public to know what is going on here.….”
(in this regard, it is interesting to also note the following excerpt from Peter Matthiessen’s book “INDIAN COUNTRY” (The Viking Press, New York, 1984) at pp. 62-63) (re-typed for clarity):
“In early January of 1983, the state of Florida granted Buffalo Tiger’s Miccosukee Tribe its long-sought lease on 189,000 acres of the FCD’s Conservation Area No. 3, together with $975,000 for “economic development.” In the opinion of the Osceola family, the lease contract is a government payoff to a “puppet Indian.” As Homer Osceola told a reporter for the Miami Herald on January 9, 1983, “He’s not doing things the Indian way at all. He can’t live like the old Indians used to live. . . . If the Indian people are going to change, let nature change them not some money-hungry guy telling them what to do. Far as we’re concerned, Florida is not part of the United States in the first place, because we’ve never been conquered. . . . How can the white man give it to us when we already own it?To this, Buffalo Tiger retorted, “Just because their last name is Osceola, they still think they’re great leaders like Chief Osceola, but they’re wrong. The man died long, long ago. These people better wake up and be like everybody else.” Hearing that he had been criticized for driving a “1983 gold-colored Cadillac,” he said, “It’s only an ’82, but it runs pretty good.”In recognizing Tiger’s disputed right to speak for all his Miccosukee people, the U.S. government and the state of Florida tried to extinguish all future treaty claims by Florida Indians, and President