“WE WANT NO MONEY”
-The General Council
October 1, 1953 – Written directions from Ingraham Billie, Head Medicine Man of the “General Council of the Seminole Indians of the State of Florida” in a notarized letter of instructions to Morton H. Silver, re-affirming the eternal position of “no money, only land,” and stated instructions to fight the “money claim,” filed in the name of ALL Seminoles of Florida, without the authority of the General Council, and acknowledgement of Morton’s advise as to the inadvisability of taking such action, translated and interpreted by Buffalo Tiger.
October 1, 1953 – letter to Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Secretary of Interior, Washington D.C. from Morton H. Silver. Same letter sent to U.S. Attorney General, registered mail, return receipt, c/o Mr. J. Edward Williams.
November 6, 1953 – Letter from US Assistant Attorney General to Legal Counsel, Congressional Record, p. 231-232, UNITED STATES SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS Senate Hearing 95th Congress, SECOND SESSION, ON S. 2000
February 9, 1954, par.8, – “We Want No Money”- Written Buckskin Declaration to the White House, prepared by Morton H. Silver pursuant to the wishes and instructions of the General Council, translated, interpreted and witnessed by Buffalo Tiger.
July 3, 1955 – Agreement between Morton H. Silver and the Seminole Nation, sometimes known as the Miccosukee Seminole Nation, p.1, par.5.
“Whereas the Seminoles have maintained and still maintain that they want their lands rather than money in payment therefore but realize that not all of their rightful lands can be guaranteed to them as a practical matter;” (emphasis supplied)
Signed by Buffalo Tiger and witnessed by 16 signatures of the General Council.
(stay tuned for photos of the General Council signing the above mentioned July 3, 1955 agreement)
March 7, 1956 – NEW YORK WORLD-TELEGRAM AND SUN, Squeeze-Play Perils Seminoles
“The Seminoles,” Mr. Miller, a native Floridian, went on, “do not want cash in settlement of their rightful land claims. Their General Council fired a few earlier attorneys because they tried to persuade them to accept money.”
(Above quote by George John Miller, Co-Counsel of Miccosukee Seminole Nation, Constitutional Law Professor of the University of Florida, Rhodes Scholar and former WWII officer in the Naval O.S.S.)
March 25, 1956, Miami Sunday News, p.14A, by Jane Wood. Indians Counter Land Settlement
col. 2, par.8
“Emmons stressed the fact that a land settlement would not affect the suit for $350,000,000, including interest, now being brought by all the Seminole tribes of Florida before the Indian Claims Commission. Though the Miccosukees of the Everglades never wanted money, only land. They will share in any money coming from that suit. Indications of the negotiations were that the tribesman may end up with some dollars they didn’t ask for as well as a lot of saw-grass swamp.” (emphasis supplied)
November 25, 1956 – Miami Sunday News, p.12A, by Jane Wood. Land Grant Spokesman Held ‘Bad Medicine’ Seminoles On War Path For Advisor’s Scalp.
“Buffalo [Tiger] pointed out that Denton also has said Indians on the reservation don’t want cash. The Seminole spokesman says he knows the reservation Indians do want cash. They are sueing the U.S. for $350,000,000.”
January 3, 1957 – The Miami Herald p.2A. Miccosukees Say ‘No to Paleface Money, by Lawrence Thompson.
“The medicine men of the Miccosukee branch of Seminole Indians made it clear Wednesday that they will not give up their way of life and traditions for $188,000 or any other amount of money.”
“They had come to The Herald to discuss their feelings about being assimilated into the ways of the reservation Seminoles.”
“Specifically, they were there to say they were not interested in money which is available to the entire tribe if the Miccosukees would join the reservation groups in a common organization.”
February 24, 1957 – The Miami Sunday News, p.6A Expert Coming To Hear Seminoles’ Land Claims, by Jane Wood.
2 Factions Rose Problem
“Basis of the difficulties is the existence of two factions among the Indians: The reservation, “money-wanting” group, and the non-reservation, Everglades, “land-seeking” group.”
“Reservation Indians, represented by attorney Roger Waybright of Jacksonville, are suing the U.S. for $50,000,000 plus interest under the 1946 Indian Claims Act. The total may amount to $350,000,000 of taxpayers’ money if the suit is successful.”
“Miami Attorney Morton Silver represents the Everglades Indians, who are seeking land rights and have asked that this question be settled before the money claim is taken up.”
September 17, 1957 – Miami Herald p.12A, by Dan Brown – “Glades Indians Split on Accepting White Man’s Ways”
“The Indians are meeting at the mission tonight and express their regret that you could not meet with them. They asked me to explain that the group meeting at Jimmie Tiger’s camp has nothing to do with this group. This group does not want any money from the federal government or the state.” (emphasis supplied)
“The medicine men are guided by God and Indians follow their advise as they have always done. They said God made land for all of us and we do not want to break God’s rule. It is hard to explain this to you.”
March 19, 1958 – The Miami News, p.12A. Fire Your Lawyers, Indians Told, by Jane Wood
After a long pow-wow with councilmen, Buffalo Tiger, chairman of the council, told Mr. Silver: “All these Indians want is land, and hunting rights and the things that go with the land we have talked about before. They want it so nobody – not the state or anybody – can take it away from the Indians forever, unless the tribe decides something else.”
September 21, 1958 – The Miami Herald, Section F, by Bob Reno. U.S. GETS ULTIMATUM FROM INDIANS: ‘Settle All Our Land Claims NOW!’ 60 Days Or Else
September 1961 – Seminole Indian News, vol.1, no.2, col.4. “Seminoles Ride Again, To Washington This Time”
“The Everglades Miccosukee Tribe of Seminole Indians, the unsurrendered Indians, who do not live on reservations, are sending two observers. Howard and Homer Osceola, co-chairmen of the Executive Council, go to make sure nobody misrepresents the Miccosukee Tribe. This tribe wants their land, not money.” (emphasis supplied)
October 1961 – Seminole Indian News vol.1, no.3, p.4, col.1
“The reservation tribe is sueing the U. S. government for money. The Miccosukee tribe wants land.” (emphasis supplied)
December 1961 vol.1, no.4 p.1
But what we, the council of the Miccosukees do not understand is this: When we reorganized in 1957 the Indian Bureau people said:
“You can’t get any federal handouts if you don’t organize under the federal reorganization act, and you can’t do that unless you live on a reservation.”
We said, as we always did, “We don’t want handouts, we want our land, and we don’t and won’t live on a reservation on welfare.”
Now they say, to this third tribe they are trying to organize under the Indian Reorganization Act: We’ll help you with loans.
February 1, 1964 – The Saturday Evening Post, by Roy Bongarts. Do These Indians Really Own Florida? col.2, par.6
“Buffeted by such hostile snubs from the North, the Indians also rage against some of their own people. The depth of their passion to be left alone is illustrated by what they turn down when they refuse to bow before the white man’s dollar…” (emphasis supplied)
February 2, 1976 – Letter to Hon. Gerald Ford, President of the United States, from Executive Council of the Miccosukee Tribe of Seminole Indians.
Ours is a nation which has never surrendered. Our fathers have told us the United States made treaties with our nation and other nations where the United States must protect our people and lands forever. We want our land, not money.
August 10, 1978 – Letter to Hon. Jimmie Carter, President of the United States
from the Executive Council of the Everglades Miccosukee Tribe of Seminole Indians
Over the years we have said we want our Everglades homeland protected in trust as you agreed under the treaties, and that we will not accept money for our land, or for U.S. treaty violations. In the past, we had offered to settle for swamplands in our Everglades homeland, which your State of Florida is trying to claim.
Our wise men have always warned us of the evil spirit and its beast helpers that would try to put their mark on us, and tr to take away our land and freedom. Our Miccosukee Nation’s hands will never touch the evil claim money and our foreheads will never take the mark of the BIA beast.
Stay tuned for more “No Money” references.