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Florida State University & Our Relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida

This guide will provide resources that speak to the evolving relationship between FSU and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

FSU & The Seminole Tribe of Florida

Florida State UniversitySeminole Tribe of Florida

In 1947, FSU students selected "Seminole" as their football team name from more than 100 names proposed. Other finalists included Crackers, Statesmen, Tarpons and Fighting Warriors. The University's use of the Seminoles as a symbol has gone through many iterations over the years. Unfortunately some imagery used from 1947 and into the 1970s was disrespectful to Native Americans. These are no longer acceptable or used, and it was during the 1970s that early consultations between the University and the Seminole Tribe evolved into the partnership we nurture today.

Read more about FSU and the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Path to Partnership.

On June 17, 2005 the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida unanimously approved a resolution supporting FSU's continued use of the Seminole name and associated images. The resolution reads in part: "The Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida wishes to go on record that it has not opposed and, in fact, supports the continued use of the name 'Seminole' and any associated head logo as currently endorsed by Florida State University."

The resolution continues: the "Tribal Council further extends an invitation to Florida State University and its officials to continue their relationship and collaborate on the development of logos and nicknames that all members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and officials and students of Florida State University can be proud."

While this agreement acknowledges our use of Seminole imagery as supported by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, there are further conversations to be had about cultural appropriation in the context of society as a whole. Please see our resources on this page as a starting point for research into this important topic. 

About This Guide

This guide is intended to assist readers in learning about the relationship between Florida State University and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We suggest research strategies for those interested in studying this relationship through archival records and published sources available at FSU Libraries. We also share links to external sources, including those made available by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We hope the resources shared here, along with a select bibliography, will help readers to better understand, appreciate, and sustain the FSU-Seminole Tribe relationship.

Special note regarding research materials: FSU does not use the word "mascot" with regard to the Seminole people; however, published works, archival documents, and other historical materials may include this term. Some materials may also contain offensive language or imagery. This material is provided for research purposes as part of the historical record and not to condone any such offensive language or imagery. 

In addition to resources that speak directly to the FSU-Seminole relationship, we also offer resources and search strategies for scholars interested studying the broader context of Native American communities and institutes of higher education.

While this guide highlights resources available at FSU, we encouraged scholars to include Seminole perspectives in their research.

Seminole Tribe of Florida & Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

This guide covers a range of scholarship and opinion on Florida State University and its use of the name "Seminole." The Seminole name is shared by two sovereign and federally recognized tribes in the United States: the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. The United States' policies of dispossession and forced removal from their homelands divided the Seminole people, resulting in divergent histories and governments. When discussing the Seminole Tribe and Nation, it is appropriate to refer to the Tribe in Florida and the Nation in Oklahoma in order to respect these separate identities and political contexts.

Guide Authors

An earlier version of this guide was created in 2020 for the Division of Student Affairs by Lindsey Wharton, Sandra Varry, and other library staff. Substantial revisions were made by Adam Beauchamp in 2023.

Except where otherwise noted, the content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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