rhe Semiltok Vegro-idian Scouts
KENNETH WIGGINS PORTER
THE Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts never at any time
mustered more than fifty men but, operating on both
sides of the Rio Grande during the Indian fighting pe-
riod of the 1870's and early 188o's, were effective far out of
proportion to their numbers. Although frequently referred to
merely as "Indian scouts" and "Seminole scouts," their official
designation was a more accurate, if somewhat cumbrous, de-
Although a good many were undoubtedly of part-Indian an-
cestry, the scouts were hardly distinguishable racially from the
soldiers of the colored infantry and cavalry regiments with whom
they frequently served1 and with whom they shared some of the
distinctive cultural traits of the southern Negro. The older men,
at least, spoke a broken plantation English, sometimes with a
Gullah twang. Despite twenty years' residence in Catholic Mex-
ico, young as well as old were mostly staunch Baptists. The older
Seminole who had been brought up in the United States wore
their native garb by preference and spoke Hitchiti or Muskogee.
Some had achieved such a blending of the two principal elements
of their culture that in their Baptist praisehouses they even
prayed in "Injun."2 What was most important as frontier scouts,
whether born in Florida, Alabama, the Indian Territory, or
Mexico, all were Indian in their trailing, hunting, and fighting
skills. Their Indianism, however, was not that of the wild, no-
madic, predatory Comanche and Apache but rather that of the
sedentary, semi-civilized Seminole and Creek, with whom hunt-
xMelville J. Herskovits has pointed out that Negroes have "mingled with the
American Indians on a scale hitherto unrealized." Approximately one-third of the
general Negro population in the United States, according to samplings, are of
partial Indian ancestry.-The American Negro (New York, 1928), 35 9, 16.
2Dindie Factor (ca 1874- ), personal interview, Nacimiento, Coahuila, 1943.
Factor is the son of Scout Pompey Factor and the grandson of Scout Hardy Factor;
his grandmother was a Biloxi.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/. Accessed October 1, 2014.