The Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, Inc., the “Council”, is a private, non-profit corporation which was incorporated under the laws of Florida at the direction of Executive Order #74-23, signed by Governor Reuben O’D. Askew on April 10, 1974.
Governor Askew’s Executive Order charges the “Council” with the responsibility of advising the Governor of Florida on matters affecting the rights and interests of the Indian people in the state, with representing the interests of the Indian people of Florida before various state agencies, and with assisting the state in carrying out its responsibilities to the Indian people of Florida. It further charges that the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, Inc. shall provide or help to provide technical assistance for the educational, economic, social, and cultural advancement of the Indian people within the State of Florida.
The “Council’s” Board of Directors consists of fifteen (l5) persons appointed by the Governor with the advice of the two (2) Co-Chairman of the Board, who are the Chairmen of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The majority of the members of the Board of Directors are at all times members of the federally recognized Indian tribes of Florida.
Although the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida are the only federally recognized tribes located in Florida, 581 tribes, bands and groups are represented in the Native American population of 117,880. (Approximately one-third of the members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, whose tribal headquarters are in Alabama, live in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties in Florida.) According to the 2000 Census, Florida ranks eleventh in Native American population.
The State of Florida and the US government have established a government-to-government relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. In addition, the State of Florida and the United States government have assumed a trust responsibility for the protection of the sovereign rights of the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. As beneficiaries of this trust, the tribes enjoy certain rights, privileges, and immunities. Chapter 285 Florida Statutes defines the relationship between the State of Florida and the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes.
The lack of a funding source dedicated to the provision of “direct” services, precludes the provision of “direct” services to individuals or groups. The only “direct” services provided, by the “Council”, are employment and training services funded by the US Department of Labor, Division of Indian and Native American Programs. Employment and training services are available to any eligible Native American, (the term Native American includes American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians in Florida or Georgia.
Since October 1976, the “Council” has served as a Balance of State Native American Grantee for Indian and Native American Employment and Training Programs. The “Council” is responsible for providing employment and training services to Native Americans in 63 Florida counties. In Broward, Dade, Glades, and Hendry counties the “Council” coordinates services with the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes. On July 1, 1989 the “Council” was designated as the Balance of State Native American Grantee for Native American Employment and Training Programs in the State of Georgia. The allocation for Native American Employment and Training Programs in Florida and Georgia for Program Year 2005 is $867,223.
The following are examples of the issues and activities in which the FGCIA, Inc. has been involved:
† Provided information to the Governor, Cabinet, Legislators, and other decision makers on issues, which affected Native people in Florida and assisted in the development of legislation to address those issues.
† Assisted in the development of rules promulgated for the implementation of Florida Statutes relating to or affecting Native Americans in Florida.
† Initiated implementation of s. 285.16-18, F. S., by assisting the Miccosukee Tribe in the creation of the Miccosukee Public Safety Department.
† Performed extensive research relative to the title status of Conservation Area III (143,000 acres) and the privately owned land therein. (The US Congress approved a settlement agreement between the State of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, which provides for a perpetual lease of lands in Conservation Area III to the Miccosukee Tribe.)
† Negotiated a guarantee by the FL Department of Transportation that an interchange of I-75 would be located on the Miccosukee Reservation (The Miccosukee Tribe operates a service center at the exchange).
† Received awards for federal employment and training funds since 1976.
† Provided information and technical assistance regarding Native Americans in Florida to federal, state, and local agencies, school groups, Native American organizations and individuals, civic groups, tourists, and interested individuals.
† Assisted in the development of Governor Graham’s policy regarding requests from groups that the Governor recognize them as “Indian tribes”.
† Conducted research and held public hearings on the “state recognition” issue. Provided recommendations regarding “state recognition to Governors Graham, Martinez and Chiles, members of the Florida Cabinet, and the Florida Legislature.
† Assisted the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes in the development and funding of various programs through state agencies (It should be noted that in almost every case, program funds were federal funds administered by the State).
† Assisted in the development of cooperative agreements between various state agencies and the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes.
† Assisted non-reservation Native Americans in Florida through referrals, mediation, and information regarding their rights as citizens.
† Developed and implemented the Florida Indian Youth Program since 1980. The program is designed to increase high school graduation and higher education rates for school-age Native American youth.
† Assisted in the reorganization and reinstatement of the Miccosukee Tribal Court.
† Assisted the Seminole Tribe of Florida in securing a grant to develop community-based services for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention for American Indian Youth.
Florida Governors Council on Indian Affairs, Inc.
1341 Cross Creek Circle
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Phone (850) 488-0730
Phone (850) 487-1472
Toll Free (800) 322-9186