Middle school students learn about Seminole history, culture and language

The middle school celebrated Native American Heritage Month by learning about the Seminole Tribe of Florida during a special assembly in the gymnasium on Nov. 14. Van V. Samuels, the Outreach Coordinator at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Clewiston, Fla., shared stories and information about the history, language, culture and traditions of the Seminole tribe, which he noted was one of more than 565 tribes in North America.
After opening his presentation by playing from a traditional flute, Samuels discussed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Seminole Wars in Florida and the conditions in the Everglades as the remaining Seminoles in Florida settled there. He shared how the Seminole Tribe of Florida came into existence in 1957 after the meetings under the Council Oak tree in Hollywood. He explained how Seminoles entered the gaming industry as a means to survive after other sources of income were cut off.

He also showed students traditional arts and crafts.

"It's a way of life," he said. "The Seminole culture has survived all these years ... There are so many aspects of Seminole culture that are exciting, and you want to learn more about."

Samuels encouraged students to pursue more in-depth study of the Seminole Tribe in Florida.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.