Hitty Visits the Seminole Tribe in the Big Cypress

I have been such a homebody recently that I was excited to be included in a day trip to the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and the Billie Swamp Safari with my adopted human, Shirley,and her visitors from "up North"

The Seminlole people are descendants of the Creek people.   It was a diverse tribe that spoke seven languages. In the 1700's, the Seminole Nation drew the attention of their white neighbors because of their vast land holdings and cattle herds.  Conflicts over land and cattle started sixty years of war against the Creek people. The Seminole Tribe is the only Native American Tribe that did not sign a peace treaty with the US government.

Spaniards called the indigenous people Cimarrones (free people) and by the mid 1800's all native Florida people were called "Seminoles"

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a self-governing people.  Their constitution formed the Tribal Council which is the governing body that oversees the administration of  business ventures, police and fire departments, utilities, human resources and education.  Over one million dollars is spent by the Seminole Tribe on education each year in the form of scholarships and the operation of schools.  You can learn more about the culture and history of the Seminoles on their website http://www.semtribe.com/

One of the first things we did after our arrival was take an air boat ride in the Everglades. This is me with our  pilot, Mike, who grew up on the reservation.

It was the first time I have been in the Everglades on an air boat.  The views were spectacular!

Guiding our boat around an alligator in the water.  There was another one sunning on a log

Another Air Boat that passed us.  After the air boat ride we took the nature trail.  More beautiful scenery.

The trees and the water were covered with tiny green plants

A Swamp Buggy

Our driver Isaiah.  On a previous trip, not us, the swamp buggy jumped out of gear after hitting a bump and Isaiah had to crawl underneath and fix it.  You can find a video of it on YouTube.  There are alligators in that water!

This is IGon the Alligator.  He is about sixty years old and was blinded in a fight with another alligator....his eyes are gone.

The sleeping hut of a Seminole Camp

The cooking hut of a Seminole Camp.  In modern times, we might call, text or leave a note if we have to go out for awhile and want to let our family members know.  The Seminoles had their own unique message system.  If the camp had to be evacuated in an emergency or for some other reason, the last one to leave would place a log at the edge of the fire pit pointing in the direction that they went.

For lunch, we ate gator tail, frog legs and catfish along with Indian Tacos made with fry bread.  Pretty good. The restaurant had their own brand of water

Some animals we saw included some very large turtles, a raccoon in a coconut palm and a Florida Panther

Shirley's grandson holding a baby alligator

If you are a nature lover, who enjoys "roughing it" you can spend the night or a few days in this Chickee on the water.  It sleeps two and costs $60 per night at this writing.

View from the deck

For more information about the Billie Swamp Safari visit http://www.billieswamp.com/

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