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Uniting cultures: Spanish Days in Big Cypress

BIG CYPRESS — In an effort to bring Hispanic and Seminole cultures together, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum developed programming for Spanish-speaking visitors.

The programming, which consists of a guided tour through the museum’s gallery and boardwalk, as well as making crafts, began after the museum realized it was neglecting the large Hispanic community in South Florida. The museum reviewed and compared its visitor demographics to the demographics of the area and noticed that the Spanish-speaking audience was lower than expected.

“We’re trying to make sure we reach as diverse an audience as possible,” said Paul Backhouse, director of the museum. “Our audience is now global, so it’s particularly important to make sure we’re engaged with everyone that’s out there. To do that you need to engage with different language groups, cultural areas and geographic areas.”
The museum offered Spanish Days for the first time last summer, and since then, has offered it multiple times – including Aug. 13 – as part of the Summer Fun event series.

Martina Dawson, a museum tour guide, led the Aug. 13 tour which consisted of four visitors from Puerto Rico. They heard about the event through family members and said they were impressed with how well the museum preserved the Seminole Tribe’s history and how they felt connected to it.

“Every culture needs to learn about the history of Native Americans,” Dawson said. “It’s important that us in Spanish cultures know about other cultures, especially Seminoles, because if you don’t go out and learn about other people, you won’t know what they experienced.”

After experiencing the museum and crafting keychains comprised of traditional Seminole colors, the visitors said they are recommending the site to their loved ones.

The museum plans to discuss more opportunities for Spanish Days and other culturally-diverse events. If Spanish-speaking individuals wish to visit the museum and need accommodations, they can contact the museum at 877-902-1113.

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Li Cohen
Li is a reporter for The Seminole Tribune. When she isn't drinking a [probably excessive] cup of coffee, she is reading and writing about local, national, and international news. She can also be seen at Nova Southeastern University working on her masters degree, running around South Florida in preparation of marathon season, and travelling to new lands. Make sure to check out her work at liyakira.com, send her an email at licohen@semtribe.com and follow her journeys on Twitter (@WritingLiYakira) and Instagram (@LiYakira).
http://liyakira.com

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