Long before the "white man" came to
Florida, this land was occupied by several
tribes of Native Americans. In our area of
Florida, the two main tribes were first the
Choctaw, later followed by the Creek.
Choctaw Indians are a tribe that originally
lived in what is now Alabama, Mississippi, and
Northwest Florida. They hunted and raised
corn and other crops. One of their chief
religious ceremonies was a harvest celebration
called the Green Corn Dance.
In the 1500's, Spanish explorers, including
Juan Ponce de Leon, led European expeditions
through Choctaw territory.
In 1830, the U. S. Government passed the
Indian Removal Act which called for eastern
Indians to be moved west to make room for
more white settlers. The "Trail of Tears"
followed as the Choctaw were resettled in
Oklahoma. Many Indians died along the trail.
A few Choctaw, refusing resettlement,
remained behind in hiding.