Miami’s Indigenous Roots. Okay, Miami’s known for its wild parties and mix of cultures, but did you know it’s sitting right on top of some ancient Indigenous turf? Way back from 500 BCE to the 1700s, the Tequesta crew was the OG residents here. They had their thing going by the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, running a pretty happening society with a solid trade game.

Betty Osceola: Keeping it Real

Betty Osceola, from the Miccosukee tribe, is on a mission to spread the word about Miami’s secret past. But it’s not just about history; she’s all about saving her tribe’s home in the Everglades, which is under threat from rising waters.

Native Legends: Miccosukee & Seminole

The Miccosukee and Seminole tribes were rocking it in Florida even before Columbus showed up. They made their way from Alabama and Georgia, and when the government said, “Hey, let’s move out west” in the 1800s, about a hundred folks were like, “Nah,” and stayed hidden in the Everglades. That’s how today’s Miccosukee, Seminole, and other Florida tribes came to be.

Dive into the Everglades

Betty’s Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours are like a front-row seat into the Miccosukee’s world in the Everglades. You hop on these airboats cruising through cypress domes, mangroves, and these cool “tree islands,” while getting a history lesson. It’s like a mix of nature and history class, all in one adventure!

Miami Circle: The Hidden Gem

Have you heard about the Miami Circle? It’s like America’s own Stonehenge, discovered back in 1998. This 2,700-year-old site was a big trading hub for the Tequesta peeps. But guess what? Most locals think it’s just a dog park! And here’s the kicker: it’s not officially recognized as a Native American spot.

History vs. Development

Okay, so areas along the Miami River in Brickell are loaded with ancient Indigenous remains. But with Miami hidden growing like crazy, more skyscrapers keep popping up, and surprise! They’re uncovering even more Indigenous sites, like at 444 Brickell Avenue in 2021. Developers are digging, archaeologists are finding treasures, but Betty and the tribe are saying, “Hold up!” Their voices aren’t part of the convo about what to do with these sites.

Champions for the Past

Ishmael Bermudez, a local artist and kinda-sorta archaeologist, has been speaking up for preservation. He turned his home into the Well of Ancient Mysteries, where he stashed artifacts and fossils he found while digging his basement. But with the city growing, he had to say goodbye to his home and piece of history.

Miami’s Dilemma

All this development is putting the city’s roots at risk. Talbert Cypress, the big shot at the Miccosukee Business Council, is worried Miami might forget where it came from and become just another concrete jungle. The battle to protect these historical sites keeps going, as ancient artifacts clash with modern construction plans.

So, yeah, Miami might sparkle with all its glitz, but there’s a whole hidden history waiting to be told. It’s a story of ancient folks, forgotten spots, and a real fight to keep alive what was here long before the flashy lights took over.

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