Cover image for The enduring Seminoles : from alligator wrestling to ecotourism
The enduring Seminoles : from alligator wrestling to ecotourism
West, Patsy, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [1998]

Physical Description:
xvi, 150 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1230 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.M615 W47 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Winner of the Florida Historical Society's Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Award

"This engaging short work of anthropology and Florida Indian history deserves a wide audience. . . . It is sophisticated enough for a university seminar but filled with appeal for anyone interested in Native Americans, Florida history or the interaction of tourists and native peoples."-- Tampa Tribune Times

"Should make some scholars look again at what they thought were the effects of commercial enterprises on the lives of American Indian people in this hemisphere."-- American Indian Quarterly

"Engrossing. . . . West has shown us just how vital tourism has been to the Seminoles and the Miccosukees."-- Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"Packed full of stories and details about Florida tribes and tourism."-- Orlando Sentinel

Early in this century, the Florida Seminoles struggled to survive in an environment altered by the drainage of the Everglades and a dwindling demand for animal hides. This revised and expanded edition is the only book available on the cultural tourism activities of an Indian tribe.

Often told in the words of the many Seminoles interviewed for this book, this is a tale of unbelievable success against all odds as the Seminoles went from abject poverty to striking the first major international deal by a tribe with the purchase of the Hard Rock Caf#65533; in 2006.

Patsy West , director of the Seminole/Miccosukee Photographic Archive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the coauthor of Betty Mae Jumper: A Seminole Legend and author of The Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Southern Florida .

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

West, the current director of the Seminole/Miccosukee Photographic Archive in Fort Lauderdale, FL, deals directly with the problems and possibilities imposed upon the Seminoles by the rise of Florida as a tourist mecca during the 20th century. She clearly illustrates the Seminoles' resiliency in adapting to significant changes while still maintaining traditional cultural and social values. West documents the post-Civil War shift from traditional ways to their current position as a major economic force in the Southeastern United States. Significant challenges to the traditional Seminole economy have included the draining and dredging of the Everglades and the growth of the tourist industry. This book represents a positive and enlightening contribution to contemporary Native American ethnographies and how traditional cultures can be maintained in the face of increasing technological and informational change. Recommended for public and academic libraries.‘John Dockall, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Indigenous peoples have been transformed into spectacle for more than a century, typically by nonnative entrepreneurs. This book is engrossing because it details a substantially different story: the transformation of Seminole subsistence into what the author terms an "exhibition economy." Like many other tribal societies on the margins of expanding national systems, the Seminoles lost control of much of their resource base, and native communities became fragmented and increasingly dependent on white settlers and less-than-sympathetic officials. In the aftermath of the drainage of the Everglades, commercial agriculture, and shady real-estate transactions the Seminoles turned visible and accessible parts of their culture into a commodity. By the 1930s, virtually all of Florida's Native American population participated in the tourist trade. Today, the tribe promotes ecotourism and cultural heritage to an international clientele. This linkage of Seminole economy and identity to the booming leisure markets of south Florida has exacted a cultural price, but one can argue that it represents one of the few available routes out of poverty and marginality. This is probably the only book-length study of tourism in a Native American society. Recommended at all levels. O. Pi-Sunyer; University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Table of Contents

Forkwordp. xi
Prefacep. XIV
Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 The End of an Erap. 4
Chapter 2 The Beginnings of an Industryp. 10
Chapter 3 The Business of Hypep. 19
Chapter 4 The Statistics of an Exhibition Economyp. 27
Chapter 5 Traditions on Exhibitionp. 32
Chapter 6 Saurians and Seminolesp. 42
Chapter 7 Commercial Waresp. 50
Chapter 8 Expositions, Fairs, and Failuresp. 58
Chapter 9 Media Chiefs, Politicians, and Councilmenp. 70
Chapter 10 "Off-Season" Economicsp. 83
Chapter 11 The Oppositionp. 94
Chapter 12 The i: laponathli: as Hostsp. 104
Chapter 13 Seminole Tourism Comes of Agep. 111
Bibliographyp. 121
Indexp. 137