The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida recently announced that they have embarked on a major renovation to their tribal museum. The ribbon cutting will be held on September 22 at 2 p.m. The museum, located at the Miccosukee Indian Village, in the heart of Florida’s Everglades along Tamiami Trail, near the halfway point between Miami and Naples, east of the Collier County line. The Miccosukee Tribe is the southernmost Tribe in our nation’s lower 48 states.
The Miccosukee Tribe has been operating this attraction for visitors for more than 50 years. Visitors can watch alligator wrestling, traditional art demonstrations and walk along a boardwalk that takes then out over the River of Grass. At the heart of the village experience is the tribal museum. First built in the 1980’s, the tribe felt that it was time to renovate the museum exhibits to tell the story of their people and the environment they call home.
The tribe hired Tina Marie Osceola & Associates, a member of the Seminole Tribe and former executive director of the Seminole’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, the nation’s first tribally-governed museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Osceola put a team together in April and has spent the summer researching and designing the new exhibits.
Central to this renovation project has been a series of films that feature members of the Miccosukee Tribe telling their story. The first film, “So We May Grow,” was produced by Mehdy Ghannad & Evan Zissimopulos, Free Road Entertainment. The film was a re-shoot of a work produced for the museum in the 80s. The new film tells the story of culture, preservation and growth as told to a young boy, Ezekiel Tiger, by his uncle, Michael Osceola.
“So We May Grow,” was narrated by Adam Beach, an Anishinaabe member of the Saulteaux tribe of Dog Creek Lake Reserve in Manitoba, Canada and star of films like “Smoke Signals” and “Code Talkers.” Beach also appeared in the television series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” The original score was produced by Grammy Award Winning artists, Micki Free and Jean Beauvoir.
The second film, “We Must Not Forget,” is a film inspired by words of tribal elder Virginia Poole. The film features the voice of her daughter, Gina Poole, reinforcing the role and importance of women in determining the tribe’s future and cultural relevance. “We are the ones who keep our camps and homes as a place for people to come back to. Some say when we have no more Native people, the earth will die.”
Exhibits will cover topics such as alligators, camp life, traditional arts, canoes and transportation, as well as adaptability to the environment.