A Sad Spot in Seminole History

Historical archaeologist Dave Scheidecker discusses the role the Egmont Key cemetery played in the history of the Seminole Tribe during a field trip to the National Wildlife Refuge and State Park by the Gulfport Historical Society on Saturday, January 19. Hundreds of Seminoles were rounded up by the U.S. government and jailed on the key in 1857-58 before being shipped to strange lands in the U.S. interior far from their Florida homes, he said. While documentation is sketchy, at least six Seminoles are believed to have been buried in the cemetery. All the bodies were later disinterred and buried elsewhere. “There’s a lot of stories here, but for the tribe it’s not a happy story in any way,” he said, adding that they consider the key a concentration camp. Scheidecker is the research coordinator of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Egmont Key lies at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort De Soto Park, and can only be reached by boat.

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