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Friday
Nov262010

The Seminoles....The Unconquered

A Docu/Drama Film in Development

Written by Mary Pangalos-Manilla, Produced by PGE, Zara-Doc Films, Paris

The Seminole Indians of Florida exist today as America's only unconquered Tribe. Their group is a mix of indigineous and northern tribes, along with African-American's who sought to escape slavery. Many of them of course were shipped off to western reservations in the 1800's by the Federal Government, but many remained behind, sheltered in hidden villages deep in the Everglades....where no white man cared to reach them. They fought back.

The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between various groups of native Americans, collectively known as Seminoles, their allies, and the United States Army. The First Seminole War was from 1817 to 1818, the Second Seminole War from 1835 to 1842, and the Third Seminole War from 1855 to 1858. The first conflict with the Seminoles arose out of tension relating to Andrew Jackson's attack on Negro Fort in 1816. Jackson also attacked the Spanish at Pensacola which ultimately resulted in a cession of the colony to United States rule.

"Existing and surviving where no white man cared to settle."

Synopsis

“The Unconquered” is an historical action documentary/drama set in the time of the Seminole Wars in Florida— a conflict historians describe as “the longest war in American history,” and one that defined America’s character and destiny in a way that persists today.

"The longest war in American History."

Yet despite its sweeping grandeur, human drama, and savage battles; despite the fact that it dominated the news and the nation’s passion more than any other issue of its time, divided the country, and transformed not only Florida, but the entire country; the Seminole Wars have never been the subject of a major Made-for-TV movie, DocuDrama, or TV mini-series.

"Seminole Braves prepare for an ambush."

What is also unique is that much about the Seminole Wars parallels America’s more recent wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, including the record amounts of American lives and treasure lost, and the government’s inability to declare a final victory over a smaller, less well-equipped force of tenacious fighters, who practiced guerrilla warfare.  And as happened in those more recent conflicts, the controversial Seminole Wars also pitted populist “patriots” against “pacifist” liberal protesters.

Byron Shea, the son of a wealthy pre-Civil War Georgia plantation owner, studies law at Yale. When he returns to the South, his father forces him into the Militia formed to enter Florida and recover runaway slaves. (picture as illustration only)

“The Unconquered” is a story of that war and those events, as experienced by BYRON SHEA, the idealistic, youngest son of a frontier plantation owner, who is forced by his domineering father to enlist in the Georgia militia to avenge the killing of American settlers by Seminole raiding parties.  His transition from a pampered youth into a battle-scarred veteran who attains the courage of his own convictions, echoes the mood of an angry public that eventually became so sickened by the horrors of this war that it turned against its own government’s policies.

Ben is Byorn's boyhood friend. He escapes the plantation and finds refuge with the Seminoles deep in the Everglades. Thousands of southern slaves found their way into the Florida backwaters. The seminoles welcomed them as brothers, escaping white tyranny. (picture as illustration only)


Becky Caldwell, is Byron's love interest. Not your typical southern belle, Becky is highly politicised. She secretly works with the early founders of the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape plantation tyranny. Byron has no idea what a powerhouse he has fallen in love with.

It is also the story of the bond between BEN, the son of a slave, and Byron, the son of the man who owned him; as well as Byron’s love for a woman, BECKY CALDWELL,  who defies convention and risks her life to pose as a man fighting for justice.

President Andrew Jackson, hero of the War of 1812 became the force behind the acquisition of Florida territory, forcing the vast majority of Indian tribes sequestered there to leave the territory and forcibly migrate ot the Oklahome territories. Only a handful of Seminoles managed to remain behind.

The catalyst at the heart of this story is PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON, the Seminole’s most ruthless enemy, who believed it was America’s God-given destiny and right to protect and expand its borders against both foreign nations and “inferior” godless heathens.  As a militia general, Jackson initiated the Seminole wars by invading Florida territory and killing hundreds of natives, including women and children.  As President, he escalated the fighting, and also ordered the re-settlement of all Indians living east of the Mississippi onto desolate, newly-created “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi.  It was a policy mostly carried out at the point of a bayonet, and responsible for what became tragically known as “The Trail of Tears,” resulting in the death of thousands of Indians from exposure, disease, starvation, and suicide.

 

Osceola, a charismatic Seminole leader managed to bring the Seminoles together to fight the U.S. Troops. Of course, in the end, he lost, but his spirit ignited the Indian fighters to continue their struggle. In the end, they became "The Unconquered".

And there is also Jackson’s nemesis, OSCEOLA, the handsome, defiant “war spirit” of the Seminoles, who captures the imagination of the American public as a warrior hero defending his people, and whose arrest when he came to parley under a white flag of truce violated the most hallowed principle of military tradition and honor, and climaxed public opposition to the government’s treatment of the Seminoles.

In the end, after thirty years of bloodshed, the American government simply abandoned its war with the Seminoles, allowing its handful of survivors to declare themselves “The Unconquered People.”

 

NOTE: The thirty page treatment for the film is available upon request. Please contact patricknagle@yahoo.com

 


 

 

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