APRIL 27, 1923

POTAKEE (BETTY MAE TIGER JUMPER) BORN–1ST SEMINOLE FEMALE CHIEF

Born near Indiantown, Florida, her family moved to a reservation in Broward County to avoid dangers faced by mixed race children from the tribe.  As she was unable to gain admission later either to segregated schools for white or for black children, she left home for an Indian boarding school in North Carolina.  Betty Mae may have been the first Seminole to read and write in English and the tribe’s first high school graduate.  Trained as a nurse, Tiger Jumper helped start the Indian Health Program and became the tribe’s first health director.  Involved in tribal government, she helped to create the tribe’s constitutional government and to gain its federal recognition.  From 1967-71, Betty Mae chaired the Tribal Council and, in 1970, was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the National Congress on Indian Opportunity.  A tribal storyteller, she authored And with the Wagon Came God’s Word and Legends of the Seminoles, and narrated the video The Corn Lady.  Tiger Jumper died January 14, 2011.

Source:  Anthony Man, Anthony, "Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, 88, Seminole leader dies," Sun-Sentinel, 1/15/2011.  Retrieved 2/23/2020, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2011-01-15-fl-seminole-chair-dead-20110115-story.html
Photo:  State Archives of of Florida, Pre-1999.  Public Domain.

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