History

history

The Tribe has a proud history, which predates Columbus. The Miccosukee Indians were originally part of the Creek Nation, and then migrated to Florida before it became part of the United States.

During the Indian Wars of the 1800s, most of the Miccosukee were removed to the West, but about 100, mostly Mikasuki-speaking Creeks, never surrendered and hid out in the Everglades. Present Tribal members now number over 600 and are direct descendants of those who eluded capture.

To survive in this new environment, the Miccosukee adapted to living in small groups in temporary “hammock style” camps spread throughout the Everglades’ vast river of grass. In this fashion, they stayed to themselves for about 100 years, resisting efforts to become assimilated. Then, after the Tamiami Trail highway was built in 1928, the Tribe began to accept New World concepts.

To ensure that the federal government would formally recognize the Miccosukee Tribe, Buffalo Tiger, an esteemed member of the Tribe, led a group to Cuba in 1959, where they asked Fidel Castro for, and were granted, international recognition as a sovereign country within the United States.

Following this, on January 11, 1962, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior approved the Miccosukee Constitution and the Tribe was officially recognized as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. This legally established the Miccosukee’s tribal existence and their sovereign, domestic dependent nation status with the United States Government.

Tribal Leaders

The responsibilities of the General Council consist of development and management of resources and the day-to-day business activities of the Tribe including those involving membership, government, law and order, education, welfare, recreation and fiscal disbursement. This group is also known as the Business Council. It is a combination of traditional tribal government and modern management that form the organizational structure of the present day Miccosukee Tribe.

Programs & Business

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On May 4, 1971, officers of the Miccosukee Corporation, acting for the Miccosukee Tribe, signed a contract with the BIA authorizing the Corporation to operate all programs and services provided for the Miccosukee Community and formerly administered by the BIA. The Tribe’s intent in negotiating this matter was clear; the people wished to decide their own fate and gradually develop total independence.

The Miccosukee Tribe now operates a Clinic; Police Department; Court System; Day Care Center; Senior Center; Community Action Agency and an Educational System ranging from the Head Start Pre-School Program through Senior High School, Adult, Vocational and Higher Education Programs and other Social Services. These programs incorporate both the traditional Miccosukee Indian ways and non-Indian ways into their system and are all located on the Tamiami Trail Reservation, where the Miccosukee community resides.

In addition, the Miccosukee Tribe owns and operates a Restaurant; Gift Shop; General Store; Service Station and Indian Village on the Tamiami Trail Reservation; an Indian Gaming Facility and Tobacco Shop on the Krome Avenue Reservation; and a full-service Gas Station and Service Plaza on Alligator Alley Reservation.

Membership in the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is open to individuals who have Miccosukee mothers and are not enrolled in any other Tribe. The Miccosukee Service Area is composed of Tribal members and their families, independent Miccosukees, Seminoles and other Indian families residing along the Tamiami Trail from Miami to Naples. The total population of the Miccosukee Service area is about 640.

Planning for the Miccosukee Tribe is an ongoing process. It is a tool used by Tribal and community leaders in the continuous pursuit of the goals of economic self-sufficiency and self-determination. The Miccosukee Tribe realizes that to protect and preserve the resources available to them, they must be fully aware of the social, economic and environmental conditions of their resources. Therefore, efforts are constantly underway to monitor and update data on the population, housing, economy and natural resources of the Tribe.

On May 4, 1971, officers of the Miccosukee Corporation, acting for the Miccosukee Tribe, signed a contract with the BIA authorizing the Corporation to operate all programs and services provided for the Miccosukee Community and formerly administered by the BIA. The Tribe’s intent in negotiating this matter was clear; the people wished to decide their own fate and gradually develop total independence.

The Miccosukee Tribe now operates a Clinic; Police Department; Court System; Day Care Center; Senior Center; Community Action Agency and an Educational System ranging from the Head Start Pre-School Program through Senior High School, Adult, Vocational and Higher Education Programs and other Social Services. These programs incorporate both the traditional Miccosukee Indian ways and non-Indian ways into their system and are all located on the Tamiami Trail Reservation, where the Miccosukee community resides.

In addition, the Miccosukee Tribe owns and operates a Restaurant; Gift Shop; General Store; Service Station and Indian Village on the Tamiami Trail Reservation; an Indian Gaming Facility and Tobacco Shop on the Krome Avenue Reservation; and a full-service Gas Station and Service Plaza on Alligator Alley Reservation.

Membership in the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is open to individuals who have Miccosukee mothers and are not enrolled in any other Tribe. The Miccosukee Service Area is composed of Tribal members and their families, independent Miccosukees, Seminoles and other Indian families residing along the Tamiami Trail from Miami to Naples. The total population of the Miccosukee Service area is about 640.

Reservation Areas

The Tamiami Trail Reservation Area, which consists of four parcels of land, is located forty miles west of Miami and is presently the site of most Tribal operations. The Tamiami Trail Reservation is also the center of the Miccosukee Indian population.

The first parcel is 33.3 acres (5 miles long, 500 feet deep) and is under a 50-year use permit from the National Park Service, which expires on January 24, 2014. The other three parcels of land, which are roughly 600′ x 65′ are on the north side of Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). These small plots of land were originally dedicated to the Miccosukees by the State of Florida and have since acquired federal reservation status. These areas are used for commercial development, which is prohibited in the National Park Service Use Permit Area.

The Tribe also has a perpetual lease from the State of Florida for 189,000 acres, which is part of the South Florida Water Management District’s Water Conservation Area 3A South. The Tribe is allowed to use this land for the purpose of hunting, fishing, frogging, and subsistence agriculture to carry on the traditional Miccosukee way of life.

On this reservation, the Tribe operates the following: health clinic, police department, court system, day care center; senior center, community action agency, educational system (ranging from the Head Start preschool program through senior high school, adult, vocational and higher education programs), Tribal administration offices, restaurant, general store, service station; Indian Village and museum.

The Tamiami Trail Reservation Area, which consists of four parcels of land, is located forty miles west of Miami and is presently the site of most Tribal operations. The Tamiami Trail Reservation is also the center of the Miccosukee Indian population. The first parcel is 33.3 acres (5 miles long, 500 feet deep) and is under a 50-year use permit from the National Park Service, which expires on January 24, 2014. The other three parcels of land, which are roughly 600′ x 65′ are on the north side of Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41). These small plots of land were originally dedicated to the Miccosukees by the State of Florida and have since acquired federal reservation status. These areas are used for commercial development, which is prohibited in the National Park Service Use Permit Area. The Tribe also has a perpetual lease from the State of Florida for 189,000 acres, which is part of the South Florida Water Management District’s Water Conservation Area 3A South. The Tribe is allowed to use this land for the purpose of hunting, fishing, frogging, and subsistence agriculture to carry on the traditional Miccosukee way of life. On this reservation, the Tribe operates the following: health clinic, police department, court system, day care center; senior center, community action agency, educational system (ranging from the Head Start preschool program through senior high school, adult, vocational and higher education programs), Tribal administration offices, restaurant, general store, service station; Indian Village and museum.

There are two reservations located at the intersection of Krome Avenue and Tamiami Trail. The first reservation area is comprised of 25 acres located on the northwest corner of the intersection and is the site of the 56,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Miccosukee Indian Gaming Facility and Miccosukee Resort & Gaming.

The second reservation area is .92 acres located on the southwest corner of the intersection and is the site of the Miccosukee Tobacco Shop.

Miccosukee police department

Miccosukee Police Department was established in 1976. Each Miccosukee Police officer, upon completing all of the State of Florida Law Enforcement Officer certification requirements, is commissioned as a United States Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Special Deputy Officer. This commission allows the police officer to enforce all of the U.S. Title 18 crimes on the Indian Reservation.

Each Miccosukee police officer is also commissioned by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All of these commissions allow the police officer to make federal arrests, within the jurisdiction of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.

Miami-Dade County
Main Station – Miccosukee Indian Reservation, Tamiami Trail (SR-90) and approximately 20 miles west of Krome Avenue (SR-997)

Krome Substation – Miccosukee Resort & Gaming
500 SW 177 Ave, Miami,
 FL 33194

Broward County
Alley Substation – Miccosukee Indian Reservation, I-75 exit 49

Color Guard
The Color Guard team consists of 5-6 members (2 flag bearers, 2 riflemen and a commander) who perform drill exhibitions or serve as escorts on ceremonial occasions such as memorials and funerals.

Wildlife
Staff of the Miccosukee Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Unit is comprised of highly trained police officers with specialized skills in resource conservation. Utilizing airboats, helicopters and ATVs, the officers patrol nearly 300,000 acres of Tribal lands in six different counties to enforce federal, state, and tribal hunting and fishing laws.

Dive Team
Miccosukee Dive Team serves the police department and the community by conducting rescue operations and searching the waterways within the Tribe’s jurisdiction to recover vehicles, weapons, persons, and criminal evidence.

K-9 Unit
Police dogs are often referred to as “K-9s”, derived from the word “canine.” Utilizing highly trained police dogs, the Miccosukee Police Department is able to uncover criminal activity including evidence leading to arrests.

C.S.I. Unit
Crime Scene Investigations Unit provides crime scene processing through the collection of physical evidence through photography, physical crime scene search, recovery of latent fingerprints, and the collection of physical evidence.

G.I.U.
Detectives assigned to the General Investigations Unit (GIU) are responsible for investigating a variety of criminal activity. The division’s core objectives are to identify crime, solve criminal cases, and obtain convictions thereby enhancing the quality of life for the community, visitors, and the transient population traveling through the Tribe’s jurisdiction.

SWAT Team
A SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team is an elite paramilitary tactical unit that is trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities and/or capabilities of the standard officer. The main goal of the SWAT Team is to provide protection and safety for the community it serves and to help reduce the possibility of injuries or death at high-risk incidents.

School Resources Officer
Programs under the supervision of this police officer, typically focus their functions on the “Triad Model” consisting of law enforcement, student counseling, and law-related education. The working relationship between the School Resources Officer and school-law enforcement relationships are the first line of prevention, with the primary goal of informing and educating teachers and students to reduce infractions of the law and arrests.

Environmental Issues

The proposed Skyway Project in Miami-Dade County identifies alterations
to the Tamiami Trail, which would result in the creation of a 10.7 mile
long elevated roadway, from the intersection of Krome Avenue and Tamiami
Trail at Water Control Structure S-334 to Water Control Structure S-333.

With regard to this issue, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
subscribes to the position of the United States Congress, which requires
the completion of the Modified Water Deliveries Project (MWD), prior to
embarking on the construction of any bridges. To this end, the Miccosukee
Tribe of Indians of Florida neither supports the Skyway Project nor any
other alternatives, which propose the construction of bridges on the Tamiami
Trail, prior to the completion of MWD.

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida is extremely concerned about
the adverse impact of the proposed Skyway Project. The consequences include,
but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Delay in the restoration of the Everglades. According to a report produced by the Office of Inspector General, for each year of delay, the Tribal Everglades in WCA 3A is losing 8.4 tree islands or approximately 246 acres. This area is the critical habitat of the endangered Snail Kite.
  2. Invasion of the privacy of the Tribal members and interference with their traditional practices and way of life.
  3. Potential to destroy two traditional Indian Camps, through flooding.
  4. Negative economic impact on businesses, which are located along the Tamiami Trail, inclusive of Tribal businesses.
  5. Modifying of the Tamiami Trail, which has been identified as a historic, cultural resource.

To address the issue of water flow through the Tamiami Trail, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida advocates a reasonable and financially prudent approach, which commences with the clearing, enlarging, and if necessary, constructing of additional culverts to increase water flow to a practicable extent through the Tamiami Trail. To achieve this, MDW must be completed.