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    • Abstract:
      The Seminoles were the last of the major southeastern tribes to assimilate, long maintaining their customs and lands in face of constant pressure from white settlers. During the eighteenth century, Oconees, Sawoklis, and other groups from the Lower Creek (Muskogee) towns in modern Georgia and Alabama moved into northern Florida. The name Seminole, in fact, derived from the Muskogee word seminola (which in turn was borrowed from the Spanish cimarron), meaning “wild,” and carried the sense of one going to live in an untamed area. The Creeks themselves were a diverse group, and many of those whose descendants became Seminoles sought to escape control by the dominant Muskogees and spoke Hitchiti and other non-Muskogee languages. Others hoped to distance themselves from the growing presence of English colonists in Georgia. The Seminoles also absorbed the remnants of earlier Florida tribes such as the Apalachees and Tocobogas. Lacking a central tribal government, the Seminoles did generally acknowledge a principal chief from the line established by Cowkeeper. Only gradually did the Seminoles acquire a sense of separate identity from their Creek relatives. Seminole