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Florida State University Seminole Symbol Files

 Collection — Box: 1817
Identifier: MSS 2008-023

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.

Online Copies Available

Materials from this collection have been digitized and are available through the FSU Digital Library.

Potentially Harmful Content

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:


  • 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 for more information.

Historical 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].”

FSU Libraries. “Florida State University & the Relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Nation of Oklahoma [research guide].”

Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Historic Seminole.”


4.00 folders

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

These materials were originally given to Joel Padgett by Beverly Spencer.

Source of Acquisition

Given by Joel Padgett, Seminole Boosters

Processing Information

Processed by Burt Altman in October 2008.

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

Revision Statements

  • 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.

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US