From Wednesday, Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, students will be able to participate in one of the largest annual celebrations of indigenous culture in Florida.
This celebration is being hosted by the authentic Miccosukee Tribe, based out of the Everglades. Their village is home to enthralling activities, such as alligator wrestling, airboat rides, and their annual Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival.
Dennis Wiedman, the director of the Global Indigenous Forum here at FIU, emphasized the importance of attending an event like the annual arts festival.
“Many students go to high school, and the history of indigenous peoples are probably found on a single page and they talk about Pocahontas… native peoples are still here, all over in the United States,” said Wiedman.
The Festival is an annual event put on by the Miccosukee Tribe to honor the culture of indigenous peoples from all across Florida. Visitors will learn about the vibrant society and history that existed before, during and after the colonial period.
“The week [of the event] is focused on the arts and dance… In one day, students can experience indigenous cultures; the Miccosukee, Seminole, but also many other native peoples,” Wiedman said. “The students can gain a multicultural experience of very high quality. What they see and hear there is just right.”
There will be much to experience, the Miccosukee Tribe confirms, including showcases of traditional indigenous clothing and artwork designed by Indian artisans, as well as live performances of traditional native song and dance. Even with the Festival’s food, a more authentic encounter with indigenous culture is hard to come by.
Dr. Wiedman stressed that the need to recognize and celebrate the historic and vibrant cultures of the various indigenous groups of Florida is imperative. “The indigenous peoples are still here and their view of the world is very different than the dominant values of Euro-American culture.”
Ending on New Year’s Day, this weeklong event also will be raising funds for various educational programs and the development of Miccosukee and other indigenous youth.
To attend the event, students can visit the official Miccosukee website, as well as the FIU Global Indigenous Forum website.