Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chehantmo! Miccosukee Indian Village (Welcome)


Chehantmo means Welcome in the language of the Miccosukees. Think you've seen it all in South Florida? If you haven't paid a visit to the local Miccosukee Indian Village down Tamiami Trail think again. About 40 miles from Downtown Miami, the village is one of the few places with pristine wildlife. As you pass Krome Ave. you might loose cellular signal and then you realize... you're far from the city. It's just you and a long road where an adventure awaits! Pictures and Video below

Last month I gave a special tour of the Everglades and the village to highschool students. This is one of my favorite tours I do with History Miami (previously known as Historical Museum of Southern Florida). We started our tour learning about the history of how native americans from Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina came into Florida about 300 years ago. Today we have two official tribes who originated from these: the Seminole and the Miccosukee. I really admire how these two have been so strong and have been able to hold on to their traditions to this day.


My buddy Billy, a Miccosukee himself, gave an on the edge alligator wrestling demonstration where he did many of his trademark tricks. Not only was it exciting but educational too. After meeting other tribe members at work doing arts and crafts we headed to the airboat ride. Our driver Manuel took us to a hammock, or tree island where we saw alligators in their native state and nature trails around the island. A great way to end the visit is spending time at the gift shop, they have unique souvenirs, crafts, toys and jewelry.


If you want to add more to your adventure just head next door to Shark Valley National Park which is part of the Everglades. Don't worry there are no sharks here but perhaps you will see plenty of alligators. This is a park with a 16 - mile loop. Along the cement trail on both sides will be pure Everglades. Depending on the time of year you will see different animals and abundance of plants and trees. As long as you stay away fom alligators, they will leave you alone, trust me. Alligators are very lazy and hardly move at all, they try to get sun and waste as less energy as possible. Halfway through the trail will be an observation tower where you can see all of the Everyglades in a 360 degree view. You have many options for going on the trail: bring your own bike, rent a bike or pay the tram tour which comes with a nature guide. This will be an experience you will never forget!

Below I have posted pictures and videos of different times I've gone on this adventure!
More info on Miccosukee Indian Village:
Also check out History Miami, events, tours and exhibits throughout the year!