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Buckskin Declaration returns to Florida

BIG CYPRESS — In the unspoiled southern Everglades half a century ago, a group of Native men burned historic words into a Key deer buckskin, filling almost every available space with pronouncements of independence and freedom that rival the United States’ Declaration of Independence. They were the Mikasuki Tribe of the

Seminole Indian remains complete circle of life

OKEECHOBEE — The burial of 21 Seminole Indians took place Oct. 15, more than 150 years after their deaths. Skulls from three children, two women and 16 men were placed in graves during a ceremony at an undisclosed location near the flat and vast Okeechobee Battlefield. Their stories included a warrior decapitated

Stomp Dance, storytelling and stickball in the rain

LAKELAND — The highlight of the four-day Tampa Seminole Cultural Exchange was the all-day and all-night cultural celebration Sept. 19, as Native teachers from several Tribes braved a rainy Florida day on the Lakeland property to dance, tell stories, instruct, eat, play stickball and share the precious culture that connects

Bobby Henry’s story: U.S. soldier murdered Osceola

TAMPA — Tribal medicine man Bobby Henry says the famous Florida Seminole Wars leader Osceola did not die of malaria or complications from tonsillitis, quinsy or any other natural sickness, as popular history would have people believe. As Henry knows and trusts, the 34-year-old warrior was murdered by a frustrated

Museum oral history project preserving past

TAMPA — Bobby Henry has a story he must tell. The medicine man first heard the story in the old days, when he was about 8 years old, sitting around the fire "where they put the logs together and everyone just talk and talk," he said, describing his early years of

Much research, few answers as laurel wilt disease spreads

CORAL SPRINGS — A Jurassic-sized, tree-killing plague from tiny Asian beetles is spreading a peculiar ecological disaster called laurel wilt disease across the Southeast. Dozens of scientists and concerned citizens saw the problem firsthand during a field trip through the Everglades as part of the "Conference on Laurel Wilt Disease and

Debbie Johns retires as Brighton librarian

BRIGHTON — After a career of nurturing young minds and minding the books at Billy Osceola Memorial Library in Brighton, librarian Debbie Johns has turned the page and retired. To mark the occasion, family, friends and colleagues lauded her during a retirement party May 22 at the festively decorated Veterans Building.

Guy LaBree honored at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

BIG CYPRESS — The life and art of a longtime friend of the Seminole Tribe were celebrated June 20 at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. Attendees agreed that Guy LaBree would have appreciated the camaraderie at the opening reception to an exhibit highlighting the work of the late artist. LaBree died suddenly on