Statehood and Beyond
In preparation for the joining of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory into a new state, the Curtis Act of 1898 and the Dawes Commission dissolved the Seminole government and divided its territory among approximately three thousand enrolled tribe members. The restrictions that accompanied allotment did little to protect their interests in the land. Through sale, often by fraudulent means, many Seminole families and individuals lost their land holdings. By 1920 only about 20 percent of the Seminole lands remained in Seminole hands. Of those who retained their property, a few became wealthy following the discovery of the Greater Seminole Oil Field in 1923.
The policy of allotment was repealed by Congress as part of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. By the following year the Seminole had reestablished their government.
The Seminole Nation ratified a constitution on March 8, 1969, which restructured their government along more traditional lines. The Nation has been composed since the 19th century of 14 itálwa, matrilineal town bands, including two Freedmen bands, which each represent several towns. This social structure is also the basis of the Seminole political and religious life. Each band has an elected band chief and assistant band chief and meets monthly.
Each band elects two representatives to the General Council. Each band is governed by a set of bylaws that originate from the band. The Seminole General Council, chaired by the Principal Chief and Assistant Chief, serves as the elected governing body. The Chief and Assistant Chief are elected at-large every four years.
Tribal headquarters are located in Wewoka, Oklahoma, the seat of Seminole County. The General Council meets at the council house on the Mekusukey Mission Tribal Grounds south of Seminole. Tribal government departments include administrative, executive, fiscal affairs, treasury, domestic violence, Indian Child Welfare, family and social services, enrollment, gaming, housing, education, language, communications, elder services, environmental, law enforcement, dialysis, youth, child care, roads, and Head Start. Tribal departments are funded with either tribal revenue or federal/state funding.