Opinion: Chief Osceola deserves better treatment in tour guide

"Osceola" by George Catlin - WP en Image:Osceola.jpg / [1], Smithsonian American Art Museum. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Writer says Chief Osceola deserves a better description in a tour guide for Fort Moultrie, where he died as a prisoner of war:
Osceola was born in present day Alabama in 1804. He was mixed British and Creek background and called “Billy Powell” as a youth. In 1814 after Jackson defeated the Red Stick Creeks Osceola’s family became refugees and moved to live with the Seminole in present day Florida.

In 1830 President Jackson got Congress to pass the infamous Indian Removal Act whose purpose was to ethnically cleanse the entire eastern part of the U.S. Two years later some Seminole leaders signed a treaty agreeing to the removal, but the majority of Seminole refused to go along with it. Two years after that there was a meeting with Indian Agent George Wiley and some Seminole spoke in favor of accepting land west of the Mississippi. Osceola reacted in a way that brought him onto the pages of history. He stepped forth holding a knife and plunged it into the negotiating table saying, "The only treaty I will ever execute will be this!"

The next year, 1835, fighting broke out. Seminole bands destroyed a sugar plantation and liberated slaves who joined up with them. Osceola killed Indian Agent Wiley on December 28 and mounted his scalp on a pole.

On the same day, a large Seminole force wiped out a column of 108 American soldiers marching from Fort Brooke (Tampa) to the relief of Fort King. Several days later, the Seminoles repulsed an attack by 750 soldiers.

Osceola worked closely with the Black Seminoles, hundreds of descendants of run-away slaves. Seminoles and Black Seminoles went from plantation to plantation encouraging rebellion and starting the biggest slave rebellion in U.S. history. Over 400 Florida slaves took part and joined the fighting against U.S. troops. “Elegant in dress, handsome of face, passionate in nature and giant of ego, Osceola masterminded successful battles against five baffled U.S. generals”

Get the Story:
Stanley Heller: Insulting Tourist Blurb Touts Seminole Warrior Osceola (Indian Country Today 6/4)

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