Tribal Relations

Timucuan Trail at Alexander SpringsBetween the end of the Pleistocene, approximately 11,500 years ago, and through the first European colonization of the New World, several waves of cultures lived along the St. Johns River and along the lakes in is what is now the Ocala National Forest. Evidence of their passing exists in archeological sites such as the snail-shell middens found at Silver Glen Springs and the fishing weirs found in some of the prairies within the forest. The Creek influence was also felt along the Apalachicola River basin, where many Red Stick Creeks migrated after the Creek War of 1813-1814.

Relations between Tribal governments and the US Forest Service are integral to managing traditional homelands. The Forest Service maintains 'Government-to-Government' relations with seven federally recognized Tribal governments as domestic sovereign nations in the Southeast.

These are the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, Kialegee Tribal Town of the Muskogee Nation, and Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town. Through consultation, recommendations for responsible stewardship are made.

Federal cultural resource laws specifically require the Forest Service to identify significant archeological sites and potential Sacred Sites and adjust management practices accordingly. Tribal consultation is a key component of this responsibility.