The first Native peoples of what is now the United States who met and interacted with Europeans were the people of the lower Southeast. They were individuals of the larger Maskoki linguistic family who inhabited much of present-day Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and eastern portions of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Today, the sixteen federally recognized tribes called Seminoles trace their heritage from these early Maskoki peoples, and many of them in both Florida and Oklahoma still speak and understand this root language. The continuing vitality of this core language, and of Seminole culture and influence, makes this linguistic examination by William Read ever more valuable. A companion to his study of Indian Place Names in Alabama, this long out-of-print guide offers a new introduction from Patricia Wickman in which she provides current understandings of Seminole language and derivations and a brief analysis of Read's contribution to the preservation of the Native linguistic record.
William A. Read was a pioneer in the study of American Indian languages, especially those spoken in the southeastern states. He made the study of Indian place names a particular specialty. Patricia Riles Wickman is former Senior Curator for the State of Florida and author of Osceola's Legacy and The Tree That Bends.