Last modified: 2017-08-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: oklevueha band | yamassee seminoles | seminole | florida | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
The Oklevueha Band of Yamassee Seminoles - Florida
Although not federally recognized, the Oklevueha Band of Yamassee Seminoles, sometimes spelled Oklawaha, are centered upon a reservation in the heart of Florida. Their Cox-Osceola Reservation is located in Orange Springs, Florida, about one mile from the Oklawaha River. That is roughly half-way between the cities of St. Augustine and Ocala.
The Oklevueha Band of Yamassee Seminoles are the descendants of Seminoles that avoided deportation to the Indian Territory in the 1830s and hid out in the forests and swamps of a Florida dramatically different from today's crowded state. In the United States war against the Seminole, the United States never achieved complete victory due to the harsh swampy conditions that the Seminole had adapted to.
The lack of federal recognition keeps the Yamassee Seminole far more economically deprived than its brother Seminole, The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which maintains five separate parcels of land and operates several casinos. The Yamassee Seminole, with recognition by the State of Florida are able to offer a discount cigarette shop on their reserve to provide a source of income.
© Donald Healy 2008
The flag of the Oklevueha Band is one of the most striking designs amongst the hundreds of tribal flags found within the United States. The basis of the design is what is called in heraldry a gyronny - that is a fan of rays of color emanating from a center point. The gyronny used by the Oklevueha Band is one of twelve segments. Starting with the wide ray that touches the left side of the flag the colors are red, white, black, white, red, etc. alternating white strips separate colored segments of red and black.
At the center of the gyronny, skewed slightly toward the left is a light blue disc bearing a white dove bearing an olive branch. This stands for the peace that now exists between the Seminole people and the United States. Above the disc and continuing down its right side is a green map of the state of Florida. Within the map, three distinctive objects can be found. At the lowest point is Lake Okeechobee, the northern edge of the Everglades. Coming out from the north of the lake is a long river or waterway identifying the importance Florida waters for the transit of the Seminole in their canoes and their modern boats. Both the river and lake appear in light blue. Finally there is a small black chickee, the traditional building of the Seminole people, spotting the location of the Cox-Osceola Reservation.
This entire elaborate design is bordered by two stripes along all four edges of the flag. The outer stripe, about twice as wide as the inner one, is golden yellow recalling the sun of Florida and hinting at the unproven legend that the Seminole were sun worshipers before the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. Inside of this stripe is a narrow orange stripe which can denote the importance of agriculture to both Florida and the Seminole. The entire flag, employing some seven different colors hints at the colorful traditional dress of the Seminole people. It also incorporates the four sacred colors of Natives throughout the United States - black, white, red and yellow. These four colors are the main design element in Florida's two federally recognized Tribes - the Seminole and Miccosukee.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008