“Cross-cultural Freedom Partners” by Linda Cousins-Newton, The Ancestral Storyteller.
John Horse (1812 –1882), African & Seminole, Wild Cat (1810 – 1857), Seminole. The great Bahamian folk singer, Ronnie Butler relates in one of his popular numbers, “I know these people long time. These people are mine”; he goes on to musically declare that these people will be all right with you “as long as you stay in line!”
This somehow reminds me of the Seminoles (Estecates) and African Seminoles (Estelustis). They were a peaceful, productive, prosperous nation of people in Florida, but they became a warrior whirlwind of a force with whom to be reckoned when the pro-slavery proponents and their minions “got out of line”.
After studying, contemplating, researching, writing, telling stories, reenacting, lecturing, walking, talking, and living with them in the flesh and in the Spirit, it just seems, after these decades, that I have known these people, as the Tennessee elders would say, “a good long while.” As with Nana Harriet Tubman, after the decades of constant company-keeping, they have gotten me all mixed up in their deepest business and have even brought their descendants into my world, not only as dear friends but in the case of the Estelustis, as actual cross-cultural family members. So I dedicate my life walk to lifting the legacy of these love warriors. And speaking of cross-cultural linkages– and particularly speaking of powerful love warriors, few if any can surpass the enduring freedom partnership and unconditional brotherhood of the great African Seminole, John Horse, and Wild Cat , his “main man”, (as the brothers used to say back in my teenaged days.)
From the shores of Florida (when it was a foreign land under Spanish role) to Oklahoma (Arkansas back in the l800’s) to Mexico, these freedomists worked collectively and individually for the liberty of their Estelusti/Estecate nations. They strategized together, traveled, planned, and fought the good fight as love warriors. On two occasions both in Florida and Arkansas, they orchestrated liberation moves for their people who were in danger of being enslaved in the case of the Estelustis and of losing political hegemony as Estecates. When reading the scores of books on Seminole history, one oftentimes finds that the great John Horse is not even mentioned in terms of some of these liberty ventures–or simply as a mere footnote or appendage to the work of Wild Cat.
You can be assured they worked as absolute freedom partners, not as assistants. They were both phenomenal leaders, and John Horse, in addition, served as an interpreter because most Estecates, including Wild Cat, during that time period did not speak English and counted on their Estelusti family, friends, and freedom partners for their skills as interpreters and negotiators. John Horse, in addition, is the founder of the town of Wewoka, Oklahoma which is the heart ground of the present-day Seminole nation in that part of the country. They both also founded towns in Mexico where they ventured by invitation of the Mexican government in 1849 with their followers.
I speak a great deal about the John Horse—Wild Cat cross-cultural linkage in my storytelling historical work, FREE GLOBALLY—The International Underground Railroad (available as a print book and also an e-book on Amazon and other e-book sites.) I will chat with you more about them on I Love Ancestry as well as time moves along. Thanks to I Love Ancestry for their fine labor of historical love here and for inviting me to share the fruits of my decades-long walk with the Black Seminoles and their beloved liberty colleagues, the Estecates.
A friend once said of my late mother-in-law, Sandra Newton, who was married to Cyril A. Newton, Sr., a direct descendant of the Black Seminoles, “She made a footprint on my soul.”
These people, the African Seminoles, family to my family, have indeed made a footprint on my soul, and as I said ‘from the git-go”, I will continually lift their great legacy.
SOURCE: “Cross-cultural Freedom Partners” by Linda Cousins-Newton, The Ancestral Storyteller