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Contact: Brittany Lesser

MEDIA ADVISORY: Florida Department of State and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Honor The Seminole Tribe of Florida for Historic Voyage (Rescheduled)

Tallahassee, Florida –

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, in partnership with The Florida Department of State and The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service, will honor the history of the Seminole people through an historic journey, the “Voyage of Tears,” that will retrace the steps of Seminole ancestor Polly Parker on December 1 and 2.

The journey will embark from Egmont Key on December 1, and travel to St. Marks in North Florida.
A public event will take place at the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park on December 2 at 3 p.m. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida State Parks Director, Donald Forgione and other state and local officials will welcome The Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman James Billie and over 50 descendants of Polly Parker as they complete the historic 24-hour boat passage.

The “Voyage of Tears” refers to the forced journey made by Seminole people in the 1850s during the large-scale upheaval by the United States Government, relocating captured Seminole people to Indian territories in modern-day Oklahoma.  During this exodus, hundreds of people were imprisoned at Fort Dade on Egmont Key in Hillsborough County prior to boarding a boat where deportees eventually joined the overland trail that became known as the Trail of Tears. Many of the prisoners died and few escaped. The Seminole Tribe of Florida attributes much of their success today upon one prominent freedom seeker, Polly Parker, who escaped from the Grey Cloud steamship when it stopped for more wood at St. Marks. She went on to elude a company of the U.S. Calvary who hunted her for weeks, as she walked and canoed more than 400 miles through flatland and swamps back to her family’s camp near Lake Okeechobee.

For more information on the event, see press release here.

DATE: December 2, 2013


LOCATION: San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
                      148 Old Fort Rd.
                      St. Marks, FL 32355