Just wanted to drop in my .02 on this issue and correct some info that's been posted on here. My name is Emily Osceola-Branch, FSU Alumni Class of 2003 & Seminole Tribal Member. The actions of the NCAA a few days ago disgust me. With so many other issues troubling college athletics the decision to outright ban the use of Native American imagery/mascots is ridiculous and misguided. I won't lie and say that I've never been embarassed or angered at the way my tribe has been depicted, mostly this stems from fellow fans at games who dress up in dime store "Injun" outfits and fake wigs, but I have always been proud of attending FSU and the way the University has handled it's relationship with the Seminole Tribe. I consider my graduation from FSU to be my greatest accomplishment. I was in attendance when the Seminole Tribal Council passed the resolution that supported FSU using my tribe as their symbol/mascot. I spent the day driving 4 hours to the middle of nowhere to attend the ceremony because I understood it's importance and wished to show my alma mater my support in any way I could. I have so many other things I want to say and share with everyone but right now my mind is busy with other issues I can't seem to put into words what else I want to say. I hope to get some kind of response from you all, I'm a regular lurker on this board and I've always been entertained by the discussions here so if anyone has a question feel free to ask, hopefully I'll be able to respond. Thanks for your time.
PS- The were some items posted on here that I wanted to correct so just bear with me. -James Billie is not the Chief, never was. That was just a cutesy little title he adopted. We might have had Chiefs in the past but our current leadership goes under the title Chairman, he's an elected official on our Tribal Council. The current chairman is Mitchell Cypress. -On an older post I stated that FSU does not offer scholarships to Seminole Tribal members. Another poster on a different board pointed out the "Seminole Scholars" program that TK created. I didn't even know it existed so I was wrong about that but it was not a program I benefited from. -Everyone should taken great joy in any comment on the issue from Mr. Max Osceola Jr. That man is one of the biggest UM fans I have ever met and he takes great enjoyment from our losing streak so when he has to say something nice about FSU believe me it pains him.
Posted on 8/7 11:50 AM | IP: Logged
Wow, thank you very much for your insight. Maybe this is something that should be sent to the NCAA?
Posted on 8/7 11:55 AM | IP: Logged
Great post! Would you consider sending a letter/e-mail to the NCAA? Just to try to get them to see the honor with which FSU holds it affiliation and the way in which it's a source of pride, rather than being something truly hostile and abusive (Wash. NFL nickname, Cleve. MLB logo, etc.)
Posted on 8/7 11:58 AM | IP: Logged
I saw the tape on sun network when TK went before the Tribal council. As each member of the council gave their approval of the continued use by FSU of the Seminole name, Max Osceola gave his, and then said "go canes." It was pretty funny.
Posted on 8/7 12:03 PM | IP: Logged
Great post, Em, and thanks for your insight.
Posted on 8/7 12:08 PM | IP: Logged
Emily, I remember reading about you when I went to school. I also graduated 03'. Hope everything is going well. Great post.
Posted on 8/7 12:12 PM | IP: Logged
Emily, thank you so much for your post. You speak from a perspective that is most important. I would urge you to send your message or a letter to Myles Brand, President of the NCAA, as well as its Executive Committee. Please also let President Wetherell ( 850-644-1085 (o) ) know of your feelings. I know he would be most appreciative of your view. God bless you!
Posted on 8/7 12:17 PM | IP: Logged
In a discussion with a friend of mine, who happens to be a Gator fan, he was saying that FSU pays the tribe for the use of the name for bribary purposes. How do I respond to that?
I attended FSU and graduated in 2001, and I know that the university did everything in its power to educate folks about the Seminoles and the tribe.
Posted on 8/7 12:19 PM | IP: Logged
I certainly can't speak for Emily, but I'd tell him that he's a stupid a@@hole.
Posted on 8/7 12:47 PM | IP: Logged
Thanks, Emily. Glad to have input from a double Seminole (graduate & tribal). Are you a descendant of Osceola, by the way? Those of us who are native Floridians and history buffs, tend to have great respect for the Seminole Indians. I cannot imagine Florida State being any thing other than Seminoles and proud of it.
Posted on 8/7 12:49 PM | IP: Logged
Emily, you probably have read a ton of ideas on how FSU and its fans could make it known to the NCAA our disgust. Just wondering if any of them sounded good to you. What I really want to know is what do you think of having a Seminole tribal member (probably not Max) or several members (you for instance) on the field participating in throwing down the Spear during the opening game ceremony. To me that would really show the NCAA where to put their ban.
Posted on 8/7 12:49 PM | IP: Logged
Thanks to everyone for all the positive feedback and support, it really means a lot to me. Let me try and answer some of your posts:
nolemanb, vt_nole and seminolesam: I'm definitely thinking of writing something to the NCAA in the near future. I've been expecting a call from President Wetherell's office about this mess, they all know if there's anything I can do that I'll be there. Carla Gopher, the first Seminole to graduate from FSU, and I work together so when she comes to work tomorrow I'll track her down and see if she's heard from anyone. If not I'll be calling TK's office sometime this week for sure.
Noles61: That was about the third or fourth time he said that during the session. I'm pretty sure he was wearing a UM vest too.
AmmoNole: There is not one Tribal Council that governs the different Seminole Tribes. To my knowledge the Oklahoma and Florida Seminole Tribes don't really have a relationship. Each tribe is considered their own sovereign nation and has their own government and culture and to tell the truth I've never had to deal with anyone from the Oklahoma Seminoles. I don't even understand why the Oklahoma Seminoles are involved in the arguement to begin with. I think the title FLORIDA State Seminoles pretty much puts the emphasis on the group located in Florida, the tribe that refused to sign any treaties with the US government, etc. Maybe it's my mistake for looking at it logically.
sunshine_scooner:Everything is going great, thanks.
Nolepaul23: You can tell your friend with complete conviction that not only is he wrong in choosing to be a Gator fan but he's also wrong about the tribe receiving any kind of payment from FSU for the use of our name. I'm not even sure how the tribe could go about charging for using the name but I know that we don't nor is there any plan to start. As far as I know it was a verbal agreement between a past Tribal leader and the school. That was probably before my time though so I can't say for sure.
SavageSteve: HA! That sounds like a good answer to me.
Doc1936: My mom always told me that somewhere along the way we're related to the Osceola but since that was so long ago and the family lineage is hard to track down that nobody can prove it. She just told me that when the tourists ask, "Just say yes. It makes them happy."
Gripper#: I thought the Tribal Council passing the resolution would be more than enough to appease the NCAA but that just goes to show how wrong I was. Seriously though, I'm up for anything that President Wetherell and his office ask me to do. I would be more than willing to be there for the UM game, who would turn that down? I like to idea of having a tribal member plant the spear, maybe Chairman Cypress or another Tribal Council member, except for Max of course. Maybe even Carla Gopher since she was the first tribal member to graduate. I'm only number three and I've already had the honor of seeing my name on the scoreboard at Doak so I can't be too greedy.
Posted on 8/7 1:58 PM | IP: Logged
Posted on 8/7 2:02 PM | IP: Logged
Mods, pin this thead to the top! This is great.
Emily, is the Seminole Tribe as a whole as upset as we are about this? Have you gotten any feedback from others?
And thanks for your insight!
This post was edited on 8/7 4:09 PM by GATORGIGGER
Posted on 8/7 2:30 PM | IP: Logged
WOW, thanks Emily! Great post.
Posted on 8/7 2:38 PM | IP: Logged
I agree..pin this thread to the top..or even better..post this as an article on the front page..at least the the first post.
Posted on 8/7 2:46 PM | IP: Logged
thanks Em, this is the kind of perspective that people out there need to here. Simply amazing what the NCAA is putting you through.
Posted on 8/7 2:46 PM | IP: Logged
Emily, your post alone is worth my subscription to this website.
Thanks for the education on a subject that we all take great pride in.
This post was edited on 8/7 3:52 PM by GarnetHaze
Posted on 8/7 3:44 PM | IP: Logged
Originally posted by GarnetHaze: Emily, your post alone is worth my subscription to this website.
Thanks for the education on a subject that we all take great pride in.
This post was edited on 8/7 3:52 PM by GarnetHaze
I was thinking the same thing. This thread should probably be posted on the regular board, but then I'm afraid it could get ugly and/or I doubt Emily would have the time to deal with the multitide of questions that would come her way.
Thanks for responses.
Screw the NCAA!!
How bout them SEMINOLES!!!
Posted on 8/7 4:57 PM | IP: Logged
osceola13, Knowing this would become an issue I have dicsussed it over the years with Jimmie Billie, Tom Haney (Oklahoma Seminole Nation),Seminoles in the Immokalee area, and residents of Reservations and all have been supportive of the FSU Seminole symbol. It is my sincere hope the native Seminoles will be vocal in this fight, as I truly believe the heritage of your people is magnified by the association. I too am embarrassed and ashamed when our fans degrigate the the Seminole image. My wife and I both proudly sport authenic Seminole jackets (garnet & panther yellow) cusom made by a dear Seminole lady.
This post was edited on 8/7 7:16 PM by 70Renegade
Posted on 8/7 5:59 PM | IP: Logged
Great thread Emily. This thread just made my day.
Posted on 8/7 6:13 PM | IP: Logged
Posted on 8/7 6:24 PM | IP: Logged
Thank you very much for the post.
Posted on 8/7 7:23 PM | IP: Logged
To mirror a few other posts, THANK YOU, Emily, for taking the time to submit your posts.
To me, the NCdoubleAsshats are being totally contradictive. Their stance that the use of the Seminoles as a symbol for FSU is "hostile" goes completely against the decision of the true Tribal Counci's decision to endorse IN WRITING the use of the tribal name by FSU.
I emplore you to take this issue to your felloiw Seminole tribe members and request that they, too, weight in with their opinion to M. Brand.
Once again, thank you for your outstanding posts.
Posted on 8/7 9:02 PM | IP: Logged
Posted on 8/7 10:44 PM | IP: Logged
THANK YOU EMILY!!
Posted on 8/8 6:18 AM | IP: Logged
Great Post Emily!
Posted on 8/8 6:26 AM | IP: Logged
Thank you Emily. Nothing like information straight from the source.
Posted on 8/8 6:45 AM | IP: Logged
Great work Emily. Thanks for your insight.
Posted on 8/8 7:36 AM | IP: Logged
Emily, it's difficult to express to you how gratified I was to read your post. As a 7th generation Floridian I echo Doc1936's sentiments regarding respect for the Seminole Tribe. Living in Fort Myers I have been close to the Seminoles, both geographically and sentimentally my whole life. I remember a night in Naples when, as an 8th grade basketball player I played against two of the best high school athletes ever to grace Southwest Florida, Guy Osceola and Harry Billie of Everglades City. Harry Billie attended Florida State on an athletic scholarship a few years later. I know everyone involved with this board appreciates you and values you as one of us and I hope that you feel the same way.
Posted on 8/8 9:38 AM | IP: Logged
Great stuff. Everyone please note the comment about the dime store costumes. I have always had a problem with people wearing that stuff. If you are going to wear the garb, go out and purchase something authentic at least.
Posted on 8/8 9:53 AM | IP: Logged
In spite of the general definition----I NEVER think of the Seminole's as a mascot----the name is a proud SYMBOL!
A looooooooog time Seminole---a '58 grad.
Posted on 8/8 11:51 AM | IP: Logged
Awesome...flat out awesome! This is a great post and the NCAA needs to hear it straight from the source. You are a true Seminole, both in heritage and affiliation with our great University! Keep on spreading the word, and I'd love to know if you hear anything from TK.
Posted on 8/8 12:05 PM | IP: Logged
thanks again Emily!
Posted on 8/8 12:24 PM | IP: Logged
Thanks for the post, and all the other effort in making your voice heard on this issue.
We all appreciate your voice on this one.
Posted on 8/8 12:35 PM | IP: Logged
Great response to Doc1936 regarding our tourists.
Posted on 8/8 12:37 PM | IP: Logged
THANK YOU Emily, it would be great to see you and other members of the Tribal Council on the field Sept 5 for the Miami game. I believe your support would say more than any T-shirt or article could. Also, I love the point you made about the "FLORIDA State Seminoles." I never looked at it from that angle. Thanks again!!!!!
Posted on 8/8 12:51 PM | IP: Logged
Thank You Emily! Congrats on your FSU graduation. It is also a source of pride for me.
BTW forgive the looser post it is meant for me!
This post was edited on 8/8 1:00 PM by RUBFSU
Posted on 8/8 12:56 PM | IP: Logged
Emily, When you have an opportunity to meet with Seminole leadership, I hope you will raise the question: What would Chief Osceola do? As you probably know, this is a quote from today's headlines. But, I think it is an appropriate question to raise.
Posted on 8/8 1:02 PM | IP: Logged
Thanks for the input. And congrats on graduating from FSU.
I played golf with Max a few years ago and he had a big FSU Seminole golf back. It was garnet and gold and had the "Head" logo on it. I asked him if he was a fan and he said, "nope, I'm a Cane fan."
He said that he just liked the bag because he was a Seminole. I asked if he or any other members of the tribe disliked FSU's use of the name and his quote was ..... "Nope. We like it. As long as they keep winning."
Hope that we always keep up our end of the relationship. :-)
Posted on 8/8 1:07 PM | IP: Logged
Thanks alot for this post as it was one of the most insightful post I have ever read. I also graduated in 03' and remember hearing about your graduation. What was your major? I didn't get to involved with school news back then as I was a fulltime student and working fulltime as well while trying to get my party on fulltime.
My question to you is, what is your roll as an active member of the Seminoles? Do they have expectations of you or do you take it upon yourself for your personal reasons?
I would also like to know what other members of the tribe think about this?
Once again thanks.
Posted on 8/8 1:45 PM | IP: Logged
Thought I would put this thread back at the top.
Posted on 8/8 4:33 PM | IP: Logged
Thank you Ms. Osceola-Branch! Your support and that of other "Seminoles-by-birth" means a great deal to those of us who are "Seminoles-by-choice."
It strikes me as condescending and patronizing for a group of mostly-Caucasian-old-men to presume to know what you and other members of the Tribe *should* find "hostile and abusive!"
I wish you would forward your remarks to President Wetherell and the NCAA (which stands for "Normally Clueless About Athletics" or "National Conspiracy Against Athletes").
As for Max Osceola, Jr., while he may be a UM fan, he has been an great supporter of FSU as well. Every year since '99 he has paid $5000 for the privilege of playing golf with Coach Bowden in the Seminole Club of Broward County's Bobby Bowden Golf Tournament. He and the Tribe have also given big gifts to FSU’s new golf facility and the Professional Golf Management Program.
Thanks again for your post.
David Thomas Wheeler; FSU, BS, 1989; Former Student Athletic Trainer
Posted on 8/8 4:55 PM | IP: Logged
Thank you Emily....your post is awesome!
Posted on 8/8 5:03 PM | IP: Logged
Go Emily and Go Noles!
Posted on 8/8 8:25 PM | IP: Logged
To everyone that has responded since my last post all I can say is one big thank you. I had hoped to get some kind of response from the people on this board but I can honestly say that I'm overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback and thanks I've received from all of you. Things have been crazy at work recently so as soon as I get a chance I'm going to get in contact with my relatives as well as President Wetherell's office, you all have my word on that. I just wanted to take the time to respond to some of the questions that have been asked since my last post, here goes:
GATORGIGGER: The people from the tribe that I've been able to talk to about the situation, people I work with and some family members, are concerned and upset at what's going on. I've also heard comments from others that they're not surprised that this happened since "white people have been messing things up for years". That came from one of my uncles and had my mom and I in stitches. I wouldn't even attempt to speak for the entire tribe, I'm only speaking for myself at this point but I'm still trying to get in contact with other people within the tribe to see what they think.
LEGAL: Your post brought a smile to my face. The gentlemen you mentioned, Guy Osceola and Harry Billie, are my uncles and to see them mentioned and remembered by someone outside my family is amazing.
70Renegade: That's definitely a question I'll try and bring up.
durtynole: Ha, my graduation aka "the media event", as I like to call it. The whole time at FSU nobody asked me for anything but a friend of mine in the Registrar's Office lets it slip to someone it TK's office that I'm graduating and suddenly I'm doing interviews, the pledge at graduation, etc. It was insane but really amazing. My major was ISS-Geography and I now work in a casino so I guess that's gone to great use.
To answer your question: I don't really have a defined role within the Seminole community other than being a tribal member and employee of the tribe. On a few occassions the Seminole Education Department or President Wetherell's office has asked me to attend an event, such as the Tribal Council meeting where they passed the resolution or when the Unconquered Statue was unveiled, and I went only because I wanted to. I didn't feel any obligation to attend but felt it was the best way for me to support my school as well as my tribe and the relationship they have.
Posted on 8/8 8:57 PM | IP: Logged
Awesome, thanks alot for your insight!! Best of luck to you and the whole Seminole Nation!!!
Posted on 8/8 11:20 PM | IP: Logged
Cool another Geography Major here!! I graduated from the program in April of 2001. When I left, they were renovating the Bellamy Building..what was the post remodeled version of that place like? Hey its great seeing this thread on this forum! I learned alot about the Seminole tribe during my tenure at FSU, and its history is very interesting.
Posted on 8/8 11:30 PM | IP: Logged
Great posts!! Its just a shame that the NCAA didnt choose to speak with people like you or anyone associated with the Florida group before making their decision...I am astounded that equal weight for the positive association we have with the Florida tribe wasnt factored into any decision, they chose to only listen to the dissenting views of the Oklahoma tribe, and this by the NCAA's OWN admission!!
Best of luck to you in the future, dont be a stranger on the boards!!!
Posted on 8/9 12:13 AM | IP: Logged
Emily, I enjoyed meeting you at the Unconquered dedication ( I sat at your table in the Ballroom ). Anyway, your thoughts and offers of help are most meaningful. Hopefully someone from the President's office has already been in touch with you earlier today. I love your aunt's observation that "white people are always messing things up" ! The NCAA has acted in a way that others have called a "Plantation Mentality".....believing that they know best and must "look out" for others. Did you notice that the NCAA VP admitted that they had talked to Oklahoma Seminoles, but never contacted Seminoles from Florida? Now that's really showing respect for Native Americans!