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  • Writer's pictureJenna Bruns

Land of the Seminole

In 1832, President Andrew Jackson ordered all Indian tribes along the southeast coast to travel to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). This order was met with resistance from the tribes and wars broke out. However, by 1860 most of the Indians had left the coast.

About 300 stayed behind and moved into the Florida Everglades. They became know as the Seminole Indians. They lived in isolation for the next 40 years.

Then in 1898, John Burdine built Miami's first store and the first thing he stocked was bolts of bright cloth. By 1900 the railroad had reached Florida and the first hand-cranked sewing machines were made available. The women of the Seminole tribe were in business!

Seminole women had been making clothing of cotton and had used applique and simple piecing techniques for a long time, but with sewing machines and plentiful fabric available, they began experimenting. They used a technique known as strip piecing. Strips of cloth were sewn together, then cut and re-sewn into beautiful, geometric patterns forming bands of cloth. These bands were then used to decorate clothing. The patterns became more colorful and intricate. When the Tamiami Trail was opened in 1928, it brought an influx of people eager to purchase Seminole patchwork!

Pictured below are two examples I recently used for my new "Spirit in the Sky" series of stoles. The red/orange design is called Cross Block and is used in the red stole. The gold/yellow design is called Dominoes and is used in the white stole. The entire series will be completed by the end of July, with colors for every Liturgical season.

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