Salzman Files Legislation to Recognize Native American Tribes in Florida 

Posted on January 31, 2023 by Staff reports

For centuries our Native tribes have been in conflict.  Since the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Creek tribes have been disconnecting from one another.  What started as being by force of the treaties signed has become by choice due to fear, greed, and resentment. 

HISTORY: The Florida Indian Removal Act of 1853 removed any possibility of Creek people to openly live their traditional lifestyles or even identify as a tribe.  Tribes were forced underground keeping the language, heritage, and culture hidden from Government.  This remained intact for 111 years, being superseded in 1964 by the federal Civil Rights Act.  

“While the Act of 1853 was the beginning of the end for many of our Native people, it has been us, the natives, who have let our own people down.  The fighting amongst our own has suppressed our ability to thrive as a Creek Nation,” said Representative Salzman. 

Santa Rosa Band of the Lower Muscogee Chief Dan Helms adds, “We are in a battle to remain culturally intact.  We are willing to do the work.  State tribal recognition will give us access to the tools necessary to do the work of preserving our culture.” 

Since the beginning of time, Florida has not had its own recognition path, having only Federally recognized tribes in our state.  Representative Salzman filed legislation (House Bill 553) that would not only recognize a local tribe and those tribes in Florida who already possess Federal recognition but to also create an authority and a pathway for other native tribes to petition. 

This legislation will not in any way create a pathway for expansion or application to conduct gambling operations in Florida.  What this bill does is provide the opportunity for tribes like The Santa Rosa Band of the Lower Muscogee to access historical resources as well as provide validation to the centuries of Native Americans who have lived in Florida.  

Because Federal recognition requires proof of 100 years of tribal recognition, tribes in Florida (outside of the Miccosukee and Seminoles) cannot qualify to begin their applications until the year 2064.   “The past cannot be changed, but the future can.  We are not seeking to claim Sovereignty that comes with Federal recognition.  We are not asking for any financial commitment,” said Chief Helms. 

 “While we do not all agree on business practices, historical decisions, or even on territories alone, we can agree on this. We can all agree that our culture is dying, our ceremonies, our history, and our language are all fading.  To preserve our history, our culture, and our language we must find a way to work together.  While we don’t have to agree on territories, we can agree that our rich cultures and history need to be preserved.  Creating a pathway for recognition is a great first step in preservation,” Representative Salzman. 

Questions on this press release can be addressed to the Representative via email: