Law | National

Seminole Tribe 'offended' by military comparison to terrorists

The Seminole Tribe of Florida will ask the Department of Defense to withdraw portions of a brief that compared Seminole ancestors to the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The comparison showed up in a case in the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review. Government lawyers likened the situation to the treatment of two British men who were hanged in 1818 for helping the Seminoles resist the U.S. military.

“Not only was the Seminole belligerency unlawful, but, much like modern-day al Qaeda, the very way in which the Seminoles waged war against U.S. targets itself violate the customs and usages of war," the brief stated.

The argument drew an angry response from the tribe. “To equate the historic struggle of our ancestors in resisting General Andrew Jackson’s unlawful invasion of our homeland to al Qaeda terrorism is a vicious distortion of well-documented history,” general counsel Jim Shore told The Miami Herald.

“The Government’s strained comparison of Native Americans to al Qaeda is disrespectful to our Tribe, all American Indians and our American Indian military veterans, as well as those in active military service,” Shore added.

After the National Congress of American Indians complained, government attorneys submitted another brief in which they said they weren't trying to "equates" the behavior of the Seminoles to those of al-Qaeda. The brief also said the government “in no way questions or impugns the valor, bravery and honorable military service of Native Americans, past and present."

Turtle Talk has posted documents from the case, US v. Al Bahlul.

Get the Story:
War court filing comparing Seminoles to al Qaeda stirs protest (The Miami Herald 3/24)

Join the Conversation