Chapter 1: The Beginning
While researching this era of conflict, it became apparent that numerous passages in "History" books written in the twentieth century time frame included considerable instances of bias that portrayed the settling of the American Colonies and later the American States after the war of the American Revolution to be a conspiracy against the rightful ownership of Native American Indian tribes already in possession.
In writing this paper to examine the period and the nature of the conflict between the Indians and the White men who settled the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), I have attempted to relate the pertinent facts without taking side in either direction.
Some of the basis for this sort of bias that currently exists is the simple fact that on the one hand we have a waning societal structure and an exploding wave of advanced civilization that is willing to make great sacrifices to establish a foothold in a new land.
It is easy to imagine the thoughts of the Indians sitting on a blanket with the Dutchman Peter Minuet laughing at the stupidity of the white man giving blankets, knives and beads totaling the equivalent of $24.00 for the island of Manhattan.
I have used three points in time to look at the relationship of the opposite sides in this conflict. This Part I deals with the period from initial discovery to the changing landscape during the French and Indian Wars immediately preceding the American Revolution against the rule of the Crown headed by King George.
It is the year of the discovery of American by Christopher Columbus according to most History Textbooks. However, alternative sources claim this credit for Amerigo Vespucci or an unnamed Viking adventurer voyaging down from Greenland or Iceland. Accepting that Christopher Columbus is the acceptable discoverer, we are told that he considered his discovery a mistake and a grave mistake to be sure. He was looking for a new route to the Indies or some vast golden treasure like the Spanish conquistadors. This is an important starting point because a consensus of investigators believes that the peak of Native American population at this crisis point is between seven million and ten million resident natives.
The following fictional accounts are based in part on historical fact and attempt to add a human element to the emotionless rendering of scenarios that were filled with every emotion known to man ranging from hate and fear to passion and greed and lust. Human emotions know no boundaries when survival is the highest priority.
Location: A lush harbor called Miyaimi off the coast of the land called "Florida" inhabited by the fish-eating tribes of the Calusa Indians.
The morning had started with boring repetition for young Miccosukee. He had found a new shell on the shore at low tide and stored it carefully on the flat rock outside his wall-less house on stilts surrounded by majestic Palms. He was the youngest of five brothers and was the best fish catcher and shell finder in the small village. Just like his other four brothers, young Miccosukee was tall and heavily muscled. His braided hair flowed down to his dark-skinned shoulders and he shook his head to throw off the salt water from the surf pounding at his feet. The new spear in his hand felt solid and good to his touch. His old one had snapped like a broken twig on the turtle's hard shell and he had no one to blame but himself. That day was unlucky all around because not only had he lost his favorite spear but Princess Humpka had closed her knees to his entrance with a finality that brought tears to his eyes. She was all excited over the advances of his rival the sorcerer Tortuga who was not as handsome and not as skilled in either fish catching or female mounting but had that air of confidence that comes from the power of seeing into the future and presiding over countless sacrifices of captured enemies and God-chosen members of their own tribe.
He was feeling the need to spill some blood because it had been almost two winters since the tribe had supported the "Tampa" families in their struggles against the "Creeks" filtering down from the barbarian northern regions. They had surrounded and massacred the raiding parties taking enough prisoners to keep the Gods appeased with their spilled blood on the temple rock. It was always a lot more appealing to sacrifice an enemy combatant than one of their "sickly" children because it just seemed more appropriate in his warrior's eyes.
When he got back to his home, he took out his war axe and sharpened the edge just in case a need might arise for it in the near future. They had a few of the "white" captives from the wrecked Spanish ship up in the "Tampa" harbor but they were fewer now because the two oldest ones had refused to "dance" for them in insolent rebellion against authority. Miccosukee was happy when their heads were removed because such rudeness was not to be tolerated in their society.
The youngest survivor was more a sapling than a tree but at least he had the common sense to dance and sing for their entertainment in a way that made them laugh and drink more brew. These whites on the ships were a sickly bunch with weak legs and weak arms and baby-making shafts of tiny proportion. The only thing they had that made the "people" fearful was the thunder sticks on the ships and the long sticks that they carried on their shoulders to make war on the people in their silly quests for gold and a ridiculous tale of "magical" waters of youth. They were easily defeated because it took them so long to make their thunder sticks ready for a new blast of white smoke and loud noise. He always enjoyed the look of fear on their faces when he drained them of life with relative ease like little birds strangled in his hand. The whites seemed surprised that their bows reached out to a great distance and were totally unaware that even the slightest scratch could bring a painful death because they had been poisoned with the worse toxins available in the sea of grass that flowed all around them.
Miccosukee took the young man with him on a hunting trip up to the great prairie above the shining caves and showed him the resting place of his ancestors. The boy seemed suitably impressed and he allowed him to couple with one of the serving girls as a fitting reward for his respect. The girl was taken in a raid on the farming tribes in the north because she was both cooperative and comely. His two wives were not happy with her in the long house because of her youth and winsome features but he was careful to use her discreetly to avoid confrontation with either of them. They stopped in the town of Daytona where the winds constantly were an annoyance and the waves disturbed peaceful fishing. The people were salvaging loot from a wrecked Spanish ship that also yielded up a dozen surviving souls to placate the Gods and give them some fine entertainment. There was even a female in the group that was not young but still attractive enough to make the happy victors pleased to mount her in triumph. He watched them with much interest because the woman appeared to accept her fate without a struggle and paced her body strength to withstand the ordeal. It was a notable performance and he noticed that the young man at his side was also suitably impressed with her fortitude. It was great fun when the victors bared their backsides to the surviving males and then sent them on their way to the next life to remain in service to favored Gods of the collective Tribe. He petitioned to take the woman back with him to Miyaimi to concubine the young boy. He thought it would be more proper for the lad to stay with his own kind rather than mix his inferior white blood with the womenfolk of the people even those who had been captured.
There was a supply of the "gold" that the Spanish seemed to value so much on the wrecked ship and he also took two loads of the stuff with him because his womenfolk had told him it was good for the making of decorations to wear on their bodies to make them look more attractive. It all seemed to be mined in the far south across the wide sea of the Yucatan but he really didn't care where it came from. He was just happy that there was none of it in his Florida because it brought the Spanish with their thunder sticks that brought much bloodshed and despair.
It was with much sadness that he sold the boy and the woman back to the Spanish priests who came to convert the tribes and settled for the gold he had gotten from his share of the wrecked ship up in the Daytona village. They gave him several sharp axes and a pair of pistols that looked magnificent in their silver case. The pistols stayed in the case until he died but the axes were of great service in many different ways.
Long after he had sold the white captives back to the Spanish priests, there were rumors of another tribe of white men called "The English" who were taking land up beyond the Suwanee regions. The Creeks were starting to raid south again into the people's lands and this time they were armed with the thunder sticks that the Spanish soldiers used to steal the golden treasures of the southern regions. The Spanish were firmly entrenched in the thousand islands and made a practice of buying slaves from the Indian tribes along the coastline to work in their fields and mines until they dropped from exhaustion. He had even sold them slaves in the past but none of his own people. Now it was beginning to look like the Creeks would be doing the same to the proud Calusa because the thunder sticks were too numerous and the Creeks were without mercy.
When he reached a point of accepting their defeat, the wily Miccosukee decided to move his entire band of the people to the Habana Island, a land not too distant and where they could melt into the dense jungle with little chance of being overwhelmed by invading Spanish or English settlers seeking to kill or enslave them. Eventually the southern Florida coast was a land of wild animals and empty villages bearing mute testimony to the glory of the great Calusa people.