This Land Acknowledgment statement was read at the beginning of our SEYM 2019 Annual Sessions, at the request of the Committee for Ministry on Racism.
Let’s begin by acknowledging, with humility, that for many centuries, the land where we sit and stand tonight was the home of the Timucuan (tee-MOO-qua) people. At the time of contact with the Spanish in the 1500s, their homeland stretched from central Florida to southern Georgia and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Florida Panhandle. The introduction of Eurasian infectious diseases, as well as overt violence and enslavement, reduced the population of the tribe to 1,000 by the year 1700.
Soon after the turn of the 19th century, warfare against the Timucua by the English colonists and English Native allies completed the Timucuan peoples’ extinction as a tribe. In 1823, the U.S. government designated this land, along with much of central Florida as a Seminole reservation. The attempt to confine the Seminole people to this land, against their will, led to the Seminole Wars.
Today, the state of Florida is home to Seminole, Miccosukee, Muscogee, and Choctaw groups, and individuals of many other Native nations.