Copyright (c) 2002 American Indian Law Review
American Indian Law Review
SEEKING ACCEPTANCE: ARE THE BLACK SEMINOLES NATIVE AMERICANS? SYLVIA DAVIS V. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2002 / 2003
27 Am. Indian L. Rev. 539
Martha Melaku *
This note addresses some of the issues associated with the controversy between the Black Seminoles and the Seminole Nation (the Nation). The first part discusses who the Black Seminoles are, how they relate to the Nation, and supplies background information on Davis v. United States. The second part discusses the historical background of thedifferent classifications within the Nation and how they developed. Third, the note addresses the different aspects of the Judgment Fund Award (the Award) followed by a discussion of the procedural problems of the Davis case and the resulting problems faced by the Black Seminoles. Additionally, this part addresses the process of how the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma reached its decision. Finally, the note explores the options available to both the Black Seminoles and the Nation.
I. Categorization of the Seminole Nation
The Nation was created when runaway African slaves and various Indian Nations settled together in Florida. 1 The Africans who settled with the Native American groups were referred to as the "Estelusti". 2 The Nation is different from other indigenous Native American tribes in that its formation occurred as a result of European conquest. 3 Refugees from primarily the Creek nation settled in Florida along with the Africans. 4 An alliance formed between Native Americans and the Africans because the Africans were well adapted to Florida's tropical terrain and were able to share their methods of cultivation with the Native Americans. 5 Today, the Estelusti are called the Black Seminoles. ...
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