INDIAN COUNSEL HOUSE
Indians lived here in peace and brotherhood for 10,500 years before the Spanish arrived, respecting nature, and individual rights.
The indigenous town of Siloy had some 6000 residents in 1565, when Pedro Menéndez arrived. Within a year, Menéndez and his company left the Florida mainland for Anastasia Island. With reinforcements and settlers, indians were forced off their historic lands.
Indians sometimes fought back against the invaders for centuries, with several Florida Indian Wars resulting in orders to deport Indians to the world's first concentration camps in Oklahoma. Remaining Indians in Florida lived and raised families with runaway slaves in swamps and rural areas. A new generation of Florida's Seminole Tribe survive today.
The federal government had a policy to extirminate and remove indigenous peoples. When the United States Supreme Court ruled against the removals, President Andrew Jackson (Florida's first territorial governor) announced that he would ignore the order, and asked how the Supreme Court would enforce it?
Indians from Arizona were incarcerated at Fort Marion, which had previously been named as it currently is today, the Castillo de San Marco. Those incarcerated included members of Geronimos's family. Geronimo himself was imprisoned in Pensacola. In 1942, Fort Marion's name was changed to its original, the Castillo de San Marco.
Today there are U.S. Army Seminole Indian War veterans buried at the St. Augustine National Cemetery. Ironically, indigenous peoples' graves have been disturbed repeatedly by government entities and developers. Roadbuilders in Florida and other states used Indian mounds for road-building materials.
As recently as January 9, 2005, the St. Augusitne City Commission voted to allow a developer to build condos and a strip mall at the location of a 3000-4000 year old indigenous village (Red House Bluff).
The St. Augustine National Historical Park and Seashore will remember and preserve the history and contributions of indigenous peoples.