Just off the six lanes of Tamiami Trail, west of Florida's Turnpike and behind a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a secret gate leads to a backyard where dugout canoes rest under a chickee hut. Across the grass and through a sliding-glass door is a living room that doubles as the Medicine Signs Spiritual Center. Covered in cozy textiles and celestial bric-a-brac, the room is dark, save for the glow from red string lights and a dozen candles. On a Tuesday night in October, Houston Cypress leads a sacred circle of about 20 followers.
Dressed in khaki pants, a black T-shirt, and a costume-jewelry necklace that glitters like a disco ball, the 34-year-old, who is ordained as a Universalist minister, rattles off an opening prayer in English with a Miccosukee accent--a warm drawl with clipped, hard consonants.