Florida State University Seminole Symbol Files
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised primarily of newspaper clippings and correspondence, and documents the controversy from 1991 through 2005 over FSU's use of Native American names and symbols representing Renegade and Osceola, the Seminoles, and their use in athletic merchandise. There is correspondence between representatives of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Florida Creek Indian Council with FSU reaffirming support for the Seminole name and Marching Chiefs over the use of the Seminole name, war chant, and "tomahawk chop" as well as letters between university officials about the President Dale Lick's Presidential Study Group on the Use of Seminole Symbolism and Tradition during the early 1990s. In addition, there are prints of early FSU Seminole football players, cheerleaders, and an FSU Homecoming Princess.
Frequently cited individuals include James Billie, Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Michael Haney, an American Indian activist and elected official of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; Dale W. Lick, FSU President, and James Anthony Paredes, an FSU faculty member and expert in contemporary North American Indians and applied anthropology. The collection is historically significant to researchers studying the controversial use of Native American peoples to represent sports teams.
Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.
Historical materials in this collection may use "mascot" to refer to American Indian representations and may contain offensive imagery. This material is provided for research purposes as part of the historical record and not to condone any offensive language or imagery.
Our full Statement on Potentially Harmful Content is available here: https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/potentially-harmful-content-statement
- Created: 1949-2005
- Other: Majority of material found in 1992-1995
- Other: Date acquired: 07/00/2007
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to all researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions may apply to works in this collection. Re-use or copying beyond Fair Use may require permission from the rights-holder. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In 1947, Florida State University students selected “Seminoles” as a name for its football and other athletics teams. Renegade, an Appaloosa bay horse, first appeared on September 16, 1978, at the FSU-Oklahoma State football game in Doak Campbell Stadium. Renegade’s rider came to be known as Osceola, after the historic Seminole figure.
The American Indian Movement and American Indian tribes such as the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma have protested athletic teams using American Indian likenesses. In 2003, Max Osceola, Acting Chief of the Seminole Tribe of Florida said that "members of the Seminole Tribe do not consider it derogatory, demeaning, or insulting, and they don't look at it as a mascot, but rather a representation of the Seminole Tribe."
Sources and Further Reading
Jim Jones. (1973). F.S.U. One Time! A History Of Seminole Football. Sentry Press.
FSU Libraries. “Florida State Heritage & University Archives: FSU & The Seminole Tribe [research guide].” https://guides.lib.fsu.edu/HeritageUniversityArchives/SeminoleTribe
FSU Libraries. “Florida State University & the Relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma [research guide].” https://guides.lib.fsu.edu/fsuandseminoles
Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Historic Seminole.” https://www.semtribe.com/stof/history/historic-seminole
Language of Materials
Materials are arranged chronologically.
These materials were originally given to Joel Padgett by Beverly Spencer.
Source of Acquisition
Given by Joel Padgett, Seminole Boosters
Processed by Burt Altman in October 2008.
- Billie, James, 1944-
- Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Correspondence Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Florida State University Libraries. Heritage & University Archives Subject Source: Lctgm
- Football. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Haney, Michael, 1948-2005
- Indians as mascots. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Indians of North America--Social conditions--20th century Subject Source: Local sources
- Lick, Dale W.
- Paredes, J. Anthony (James Anthony), 1939-
- Photographs Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Seminole Tribe of Florida, Dania, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood & Tampa Reservations Subject Source: Lcnaf
- Sports team mascots--Social aspects--United States Subject Source: Local sources
- Florida State University Seminole Symbol Files
- Burt Altman. Revised: Sandra Varry
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- 8/13/2020: The word "mascot" was replaced with "symbol" for all FSU authored text. Special note regarding potentially offensive language and imagery added.
- November 4, 2022: Historical Information note revised for accuracy and cultural competency.