2021 Annual Seminole Maroon Commemorative

 

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ADACI Vote shirt
“Vote” T-shirt produced by the African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute (ADACI), Washington, D.C., which organizes annual Remembrances of the Middle Passage.

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TEXAS SEMINOLE MAROON HERITAGE FEATURED


The 2020 Annual Seminole Maroon Spiritual Remembrance of the Battles of the Loxahatchee was held at Jupiter’s Battlefield Park on Sunday, January 19, featuring special first-time historic presentations on the unique history of Black Seminole Trail of Tears survivors and their descendants whose quest for renewed freedom led them from Oklahoma to Mexico and then to the landmark town of Brackettville, near Fort Clark, Texas, and to outstanding distinction in military service.

Ms. Windy Goodloe of The Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery Association (SISCA) in Brackettville joined noted Florida historian Dr. Anthony Dixon in bringing to light the rich and complex heritage of those Texans whose saga parallels that of other branches of the African American Seminole Diaspora who departed the ancestral “Freedom Land” of Florida to establish still-vibrant communities in Oklahoma, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

In Brackettville, Texas, the military unit known as the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts, which included Native members as well, served from 1870 to 1914, with no less than four of their number receiving the Congressional medal of Honor for their valor.

Goodloe and Dixon, two keepers and protectors of a rich history, joined other scheduled visitors, as well as local luminaries, including performers and cultural vendors led by community and spiritual leaders presenting cross-cultural traditional opening ceremonies.

The 2020 program opened with cross-cultural traditions and concluded with guided Battlefield tours conducted at 1:00 p.m. by the Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists.

Traditional Rituals
The site of the Commemorative event was 9060 Indiantown Road in northern Palm Beach County, Loxahatchee Battlefield.

A most popular and revered feature of the annual gathering is the traditional Native American blessing ceremony, conducted by Miami-based Carib tribal Queen Mrs. Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez, which combined healing, cleansing, and guidance, not only opening the way for the rest of the multicultural spiritual program but also for the new year.

The event commemorated two battles fought along the banks of the Loxahatchee River on January 15 and January 24, 1838, during the Second Seminole War. Seminole survivors of the Christmas Day, 1837 Battle of Okeechobee, regrouped at a settlement in this location, and encountered combined U.S. forces and Tennessee Volunteers.

A Popular Event
Once known as “Palm Beach County’s forgotten war,” these battles have come to increasing local, statewide, and even national awareness thanks in large part to the Annual Remembrance, co-founded in 1996 by the late Seminole Maroon descendant, historian and activist Isa Hamm Bryant, historian Richard Procyk and archaeological researcher Steve Carr and others.

The diligence of this founding cadre resulted in identifying the true location of the battlefield and bringing a more accurate version of the story to life, with presentations and exhibits.

A Critical Turning Point in History
The two Battles of the Loxahatchee are regarded as a critical turning point in the four-decades-long assault on freedom known as the three Seminole Wars.

It is providentially significant that the anniversaries of these two critical battles, which turned the tide of the decades-long military onslaught against the freedom seekers, occur during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend honoring peace, particularly in the light of Dr. King’s revolutionary teachings on nonviolence, even as the memory of the fallen on all sides is honored at the consecrated battlefield site.

Diversity of Maroon Communities
In fact, much of the Seminole population, like Maroon communities of self-liberators from enslavement elsewhere in the hemisphere and their Native allies, had been settled in Florida for generations, with thriving farms and herds.

Freedom-seekers joined or were being joined by Native Tribal members escaping from European settler encroachment in the English-claimed states to the north of the peninsula.

These communities also welcomed new recruits and established Underground Railroad escape routes to freedom beyond Florida, much to the frustration of slaveholders and Andrew Jackson’s scheme for “Indian Removal” of all Indigenous nations east of the Mississippi River, leading to these military incursions into Spanish territory becoming the fledgling United States’ first foreign war.

A Special Year
This year marks the Twenty-sixth Anniversary of the Remembrance held by the Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc., a 501-[c]{3} non-profit.

Free and Open to the Public
This program, organized by Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc. and produced in cooperation with Palm Beach County Parks Department and the Loxahatchee Battlefield Preservationists, is always free and open to the public. For further information, please visit the FBHRPINC.org website or email info@fbhrpinc.org, wtinnie@gmail.com or dinizulu7@gmail.com.

 


Seminole Scout Marker
Official historic marker at the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery describes their role from the perspective of settler expansion.