Going Native

Live a little, learn a little at Miccosukee fest

Their official name: The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. The "of Florida" came about in the Nineteenth Century when Euro-Americans waged war on the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes -- several times -- killing and maiming natives until the tribe was so deep in the Everglades, and so many had been exterminated in the ethnic cleansing-style genocide, that the white man didn't care anymore. Miccosukees are still out there, most of them, making lives on the res in the Everglades.

For almost a generation the tribe has invited everyone to come out for twice-yearly festivals. Suggestion to tribe: Claim Springsteen is headlining with Dylan opening and then, when all the Euro types get out there, slaughter them. Just a thought.

Actually the Miccosukees host awesome parties that not only provide a fun fair (with an array of kiosks and lots of music and crafts), but also raise funds for educational programs and, get this, "serve as a positive communication vehicle between Indians and non-Indians." That's what they say, so leave your smallpox-laden blankets and moonshine at home. It's the least you can do.

Open wide: Take in the Everglades Music & Crafts 
Festival
Open wide: Take in the Everglades Music & Crafts Festival

Details

From 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (admission gates close one hour earlier) Saturday, April 17. Admission is $7 and $15. Call 305-223-8380.
The Miccosukee Indian Reservation, 24 miles west of the Florida Turnpike on the Tamiami Trail

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In exchange for not killing them, tribe members will present their 29th annual Everglades Music & Crafts Festival featuring a Beatles tribute band, a Miccosukee fashion show (the whole catwalk presentation is beautifully charming), an all ex-stars group (members of Steppenwolf, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Toto), and the Johnny Winter Band featuring James Montgomery. Between bands (or during) be sure to stroll the midway and check out real Indian crafts, art, fashion. Watch alligator wrestling and then visit the museum where they keep the wrestlers' lost fingers (sick joke, sorry). Airboat rides are also available.

Be sure to go on an empty stomach because a highlight at any Miccosukee festival is the food, particularly the filling fry bread and the tasty Indian hamburger, which is the aforementioned fry bread stuffed with spicy ground meat. It's a full day of filling your stomach with delicacies, listening to virtually nonstop live music, seeing how these particular holocaust victims live today, enjoying the Everglades....

The Indian Village -- figuratively a million miles from the casino at Krome but only about 20 literal miles west of that -- can be found easily by following the traffic turning south in the middle of nowhere. And remember, the $15 you pay ($7 for those age seven to twelve) goes to help the Miccosukee school's summer programs, Head Start, and to purchase playground gear and the services of educational aides for the elementary school. Hardly fair reparations, but certainly fair prices for a fair this fun. Taking your own children provides an opportunity to teach them a bit about the history of the U.S. and how it isn't as pretty as some might want the youth to believe.

 
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