Maskoke is a living language spoken in Oklahoma and Florida. It was formerly spoken by a number of etvlwv or small tribes along the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Alabama, Chattahoochee, and Flint rivers in what is now Alabama and Georgia. This was a wide-spread language spoken in the region even in etvlwv that used another language for everyday speech.

Some groups speaking Maskoke migrated to Florida in the 1700’s, where they were absorbed into other Florida tribes. There they would eventually become known as Seminoles. The Oconee were the original “Seminole,” and later included the Hecete, Eufaula, Mikasuki, Horrewahle, Talahassee, Chiaha, and Appalachicola. Additionally, through intermarriage, traditional cultural adoption practices and treaty obligations, runaway and “freed” slaves were absorbed also. The term “cimarrones” spoken by the Spanish was initially transliterated by the Creek as “semvlonē,” which eventually morphed into “Semvnole” (pronounced sem-uh-no-lee by native speakers even today) and thus we have the term that would describe the various Indigenous tribes in the State of Florida.

In the 1830’s, most Creeks and Seminoles were forced to move to Indian Territory. Today, dialects of Maskoke are spoken in three locations:

Maskoke Dialect graph


Lessons – Introduction