Letters from the Issue of August 8, 2002

Can one man fix the nation's fourth-largest school system?

The Miccosukee refer to the Everglades as "Our Mother." We know it must be treated as a whole. The tribe does not support single-species management that pits parts of the Everglades against one another and species against species. Restoration is about restoring natural flows, not creating an unnatural environment for a subpopulation of sparrows that moved here from Cape Sable. We know through our long experience with the Everglades that if these flows are restored, the sparrow will adjust. It will build its nests higher or fly to a location that is more to its liking. According to Mr. Clary's article, the American Ornithologists' Union agrees that these more natural historic flows should be produced.

The federal government ignores its solemn trust responsibility to the tribe and its lands. The historic trend of dispossessing native people under the ruse of environmental protection must end. Our non-Indian neighbors, who love the Everglades as we do, can help by insisting that the long-delayed Modified Water Deliveries Project be completed expeditiously. This 1989 congressionally authorized project will restore more natural flows. It will benefit 900,000 acres of Everglades, including tribal lands. It will protect the snail kite, the sparrow, and other endangered species. It will preserve the River of Grass for our children and future generations.

Billy Cypress, chairman
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians

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