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University Communications


Relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida

A Seminole Timeline at Florida State University


Justin Motlow made history as the first member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to score a touchdown for Florida State University. The junior wide receiver caught a 12-yard pass during the fourth quarter to help lead his team to victory.


FSU confers an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Louise Jones Gopher, the noted champion of education and member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.


The FSU Men’s Basketball Team unveils turquoise uniforms to raise awareness for bringing sport and physical activity to Native American and Aboriginal youth.


FSU holds the first Rite to A-rak-ke-ce-tv cultural graduation ceremony to honor students’ accomplishments, highlight the valued relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and honor Seminole culture and tradition.


Osceola and Renegade, the deeply beloved symbols of Florida State football are honored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida as the grand marshals of a parade to kick off the 74th Annual Brighton Field Days Festival and Rodeo. Seminole Tribe officials also invite Osceola to plant the spear prior to the festival’s rodeo, marking the first time the spear had ever been planted outside of an FSU football game.


FSU bestows the distinguished Westcott Award on Louise Jones Gopher. Gopher was the first female member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to earn a college degree and has been a champion of education for all of the tribe’s members. This rare honor is reserved for those whose loyalty, advocacy and support of the university is deemed extraordinary.


FSU introduces a newly created course, “History of the Seminoles and Southeastern Tribes, Pre-Contact to Present”, where students are able to learn more about the history and culture of this “unconquered” American Indian tribe.


On June 17, the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida unanimously approves a resolution supporting FSU's continued use of the Seminole name and associated images. The resolution reads in part: "The Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida wishes to go on record that it has not opposed and, in fact, supports the continued use of the name 'Seminole' and any associated head logo as currently endorsed by Florida State University. In addition, it states that the "Tribal Council further extends an invitation to Florida State University and its officials to continue their relationship and collaborate on the development of logos and nicknames that all members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and officials and students of Florida State University can be proud."


FSU bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Seminole Tribe member and General Counsel Jim Shore in recognition of his lifetime achievements as a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.


Max Osceola, acting chairman of the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, voices support for the FSU football tradition of Osceola and Renegade during FSU Day at the Florida Legislature. "We don't look at it as a mascot, we look at it as a representation of the Seminole Tribe," he says in an Orlando Sentinel article dated April 3, 2003. "They work with us in representing our heritage. This is our tribe, and the tribe that is represented needs to have final say, and they need to respect that."


"Unconquered," a statue of a Seminole Indian astride a horse that stands approximately 31 feet from ground level to the tip of the warrior's spear, is unveiled outside of FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium. Stephen Reilly, an FSU alumnus who spearheaded the decade-long project, said that the statue "symbolically portrays the unconquered spirit of the Seminole people of the 19th century and the timeless legacy of that spirit that continues to burn bright into the future."


James Billie, chairman of the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, takes a firm stand in opposition of Resolution 1-98 of the Governor's Interstate Indian Council, which would denounce the use of Native American names and symbols by athletic teams. Billie explicitly states that the Seminole Tribe of Florida endorses FSU's use of the Seminole name.


Carla Gopher becomes the second Florida Seminole Indian and the first woman to graduate from FSU.


The Lady Scalp Hunters, an alumnae booster club, changes its name to Lady Spirit Hunters.


Betty Mae Jumper, a Florida Seminole leader and storyteller, is presented with an honorary degree in humane letters from FSU.


The Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council, a statutory agency of the State of Florida that represents all non-federally recognized Creek Indian tribes in North Florida, approves a resolution showing support for the Florida State University Seminoles and Marching Chiefs "for their enjoyable representation of the Indian spirit."


At the request of leaders from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, FSU's running-warrior insignia is retired.


James E. Billie, chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, endorses FSU's use of the name "Seminoles" in a letter to the FSU Alumni Association. "The word 'Seminole' means 'untamed,'" said Billie. "Nothing can hold them back. We are proud to be Seminoles, and we are proud of the Florida State University Seminoles. We are all winners."


The "Seminole War Chant" makes its debut during an FSU football home game against Auburn.


The Florida Indian Youth Program, an on-campus immersion designed to make college seem less alien to Florida's American Indians, makes its debut at FSU with 17 students.


FSU's female Indian head logo is designed by graphic artist Tom Wiedenhoeft and adopted as an official university insignia for women's athletics.


Renegade's rider is called Osceola for the first time.


Bill Durham, a Tallahassee businessman and FSU alumnus, convinces football coach Bobby Bowden to support the creation of a new school tradition — a depiction of a Seminole warrior astride a horse — as a means of increasing school spirit at football games. A horse owned by Tallahassee veterinarian Dr. Jerry DeLoney makes its first appearance as Renegade at an FSU football game on Sept. 16. (Ironically, the football team's opponents on that day were the Oklahoma State Cowboys.) The horse is ridden by FSU student Jack Kidder, who depicts an unnamed Seminole warrior that fans initially refer to as Savage Sam or the Seminole Warrior.


Football coach Bobby Bowden arrives at FSU.


Chief Howard Tommie of the Seminole Tribe of Florida is asked to be an honorary member of the Homecoming Steering Committee. Tribal representatives have continued to attend and contribute to FSU's Homecoming every year since.


FSU mascot Sammy Seminole is officially retired.


Two drawings by graphic artist John Roberge — those of FSU's now-iconic Indian head logo and of a running Indian warrior — were adopted as official university insignias. Over the years, minor changes have been made to the Indian head logo, including straightening the hump and rounding the tip of his nose, and adding the word "Florida" on the feather in his hair.


At the request of leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Chief Fullabull is retired.


A new mascot for the FSU men's basketball team, Chief Fullabull, makes his debut. The buffoonish character specializes in skits such as ceremonially "massacring" effigies of opposing teams' mascots.


FSU student Bill Durham, serving on the university's Homecoming Committee, proposes starting a new tradition in which a student dressed as a Seminole Indian would ride a horse and perform during the Homecoming football game. The idea doesn't get much support — but does become the basis of the Osceola and Renegade tradition in 1978.


A new mascot, Sammy Seminole, is introduced at FSU's Pow Wow festivities. Sammy Seminole is portrayed by FSU student Casper "Chick" Cicio.


The first attempt at establishing a horse with an Indian rider as an FSU tradition is attempted. The reaction is mixed, and the idea is quickly abandoned.


The Seminole Tribe of Florida gains federal status; the tribe ratifies a new Seminole Constitution by a vote of 241-5.


Legislation signed by Florida Gov. Millard Caldwell returns the Florida State College for Women to coeducational status and renames it Florida State University. The football team is re-organized, and the process of selecting a team name begins.


FSU students select "Seminole" as their team name from more than 100 names proposed. Other finalists include Crackers, Statesmen, Tarpons and Fighting Warriors.