Micanopy, Chief of the Seminoles
Lithograph, McKenney-Hall, 1858.
Throughout John Horse's youth, Black Seminoles lived in separate,
well-armed black communities. Many individual blacks were considered
slaves of the leading Indian chiefs, like the principal chief
Micanopy, and yet the blacks were able to retain firearms, live
apart from their masters, and select their own leaders. Observers in
the 1820s and 1830s described Seminole slavery as a mild system, much closer
to feudalism than the South's peculiar institution. The system would
change in later years, creating serious conflicts between blacks and
their Indian masters.