Miccosukee Indian Village
The Miccosukee story has been a story of survival through adaptation. They originally belonged to the Creek Confederacy; however, they migrated to Florida before it became part of the United States. During the Indian Wars of the 1800s, most of the Miccosukee were removed to the West, but a few families escaped and hid in the Everglades. They now number about 500 people. In order to escape the soldiers during the 1800s, the Miccosukees spread out through the Everglades with only one large family to a tree island, or hammock, as they call it. They used to travel by dugout canoes to hunt, visit each other, or trade. Some of the old canoes, each hollowed from a single cypress log, are displayed in the village. One canoe took almost two years to carve but they lasted a long time.
The Miccosukees never settled in one community like the Indians on reservations in the West. They have always been rather independent. They stayed to themselves in the Everglades for about 100 years, resisting efforts to make them like everybody else, but when the highway, Tamiami Trail, was built in the 19230s, the Miccosukees started to accept some of the new world's concepts. In 1962, The Miccosukees were federally recognized as an Indian Tribe, thus separating Miccosukee from the Seminole Tribe. The tribe now has complete education, health and public safety departments, which combine appropriate aspects of Indian and nonIndian practices. Through all these changes, the Miccosukees have kept their own identity and language. They still celebrate their Green Corn Dance each spring. In that sacred ceremony, the clans get together and for four days, they sing and dance and celebrate the gift of the corn that renews them and is the secret of their tribal strength. Their Indian medicine knowledge remains strong, and the young people are educated in the Miccosukee traditional folklore.
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