Have you seen how they begin a football game at Florida State University? Because FSU’s team is called the Seminoles, they have the team mascot, an Indian named Osceola, ride out on a horse, and throw a spear into the ground, thus giving the signal for the kickoff. You can read more about that tradition here:
This year my brother Chris is playing a part in the tradition. To bring non-family members up to date, he is a park ranger in Naples, FL, and hangs around so much at the Seminole and Miccosukee reservations in the Everglades, that for all practical purposes he has “gone native.” Over the years, he has also participated in Seminole War re-enactments, using the name of Okahumpkee. Here is a link to his MySpace page, I don’t have the URL for his Facebook page yet.
Anyway, it was the re-enactments that got the attention of the Seminole tribe. Because Chris worked for years to make sure his costume was authentic, now they’ve worked out an arrangement where he will make the jacket Osceola will be wearing to the games this year. Besides having it look right, the main criterion is that he have it finished by the end of this month, so they can send it to Tallahassee and have it blessed in a tribal ceremony before the first game. So keep an eye out for Osceola’s jacket, the next time you watch an FSU game, okay?
Oh yes, and I know some people these days find it politically incorrect to give Native American names to sports teams. The Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins have taken grief for it, to give two examples. For the record, the Seminole tribe has never had a problem with Florida State using their name, for two very good reasons:
1. The school treats the real Seminoles, and their heritage, with respect.
2. The team wins more often than not!