The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida

MiccosukeeDid you know a Native American tribe resides still in the Everglades? There is, and they are called the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. They occupy several reservations in Florida, known as the Miccosukee Indian Reservation The largest section of this reservation is 333 acres of the north border of the Everglades National Park; in fact, the tribe controls around 200,000 acres of wetland; this land must be used for “the purpose of hunting, fishing, frogging, and subsistence agriculture to carry on the traditional Miccosukee way of life.”

The Miccosukee were originally part of the Creek Nation, who were an association of clan villages in Alabama and Georgia. The Miccosukee come from the Lower Creek region of Creek Nation and speak Mikasuki; they lived with other Lower Creek tribes in harmony as they shared religious and social practices. To survive, they hunted, fished and grew crops, including corn. The Tribe celebrates this new harvest each year still at the Green Corn Dance.

Around 1715, the Miccosukee made their way down into Florida in an effort to escape European settlers, as well as the Upper Creek Nation (who they did not get along with). The remained in the panhandle area for a while, but then ventured to settle around Alachua, which is south of the Tampa Bay area.

After Spain sold Florida to the United States, treaties between Indian leader and the new American settlers were occurring but in 1830 the Indian Removal Act was put into place and the Second Seminole War and Third Seminole War took place. During these wars, the Miccosukees escaped the fighting and hid in the Everglades. The current tribal members are descendants from the 50 members who were not captured in the wars.

In the Everglades, the Miccosukees had to adapt the new environment so they created “hammock style” camps. They fished and hunted to eat. They began to harvest native fruits of the hammocks, but corn, which played an important role in their customs, became difficult to grow.

Over the years, the Miccosukees have adapted to new ways but have always retained their culture. They have kept their language, medicine, and clans. Many still do not live in modern housing and prefer to live in chickees, which are thatched-roof houses on stilts. Since the 9160s, the Miccosukees have their own Constitution and bylaws.

The Miccosukee Indian Village and Airboat Rides is a family camp where there are sleeping, working, and cooking chickees. This village includes a museum, board walk, and alligator arena. People can visit the camp and watch the Miccosukke Indians engage in doll making, beadwork, patchwork, and basket weaving. There are alligator demonstrations, airboat rides, a restaurant, and a gift shop.

This village is a great place and trip to learn all about the culture, lifestyle, and history of the Tribe. The Village is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry costs $10 for adults, children (5-12)$6, and children under 5 are free. Airboat rides around the Village cost $16.

Explore the Everglades

The current population of the Miccosukee service area is 550 members. Membership is open to Indians who are on-held Miccosukee Indian blood and are not enrolled in other tribes. Definitely check out this culturally-rich area and learn more about their history in Florida and the everglades at their Village on Tamiami Trail in Miami.