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Fort Pierce focuses on family for Independence Day

By Rachel Buxton

FORT PIERCE — The Fort Pierce community celebrated the Fourth of July in true American style with a home-cooked barbecue feast held at Chupco Ranch on June 30.

The definite underlining theme for the celebration was simple: family.

“The overall point of today is definitely family,” Fort Pierce Liaison Jane Stockton said. “Everyone coming together and it is the Fourth of July and it is something to do, something to do with family. To me, it is about family.”

 Although Liaison Stockton said they didn’t throw their typical Fourth of July party, the community enjoyed their time together.

 And as for the community members who attended, they could not have agreed more, including Liaison Stockton’s daughter, Celeste, who helped out her mother with the Independence Day celebration.

 “It doesn’t really matter to me,” she said in regard to having a traditional backyard barbecue. “They (the children) are having fun, and that is all that matters. As long as they are having fun, it is fine with me.”

 The kids were entertained with a giant waterslide that offered hours of fun and refreshment from the extreme heat.

 “The most important part for the event would probably have to be activities for the children,” Fort Pierce community property manager Kathreen Martinez said. “So that they could be entertained, and at the same time, it is a hot summer, so we got them a waterslide so they can have fun, snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn.”

 She said they wanted to create a fun family environment.

 Tribal member Shamy Tommie, who can be seen at all Fort Pierce gatherings, re-emphasized the meaning of not only the Fourth of July celebration but also of all Fort Pierce gatherings.

 “All you really need is your relatives and friends and that is what makes your time anyway,” he said. “All you need is family and love.”

 Tommie, along with his wife, Wanda, provided the meal for the Fort Pierce celebration through their independent catering business, Tomahawk Catering. They served Tommie’s infamous barbecue ribs and Wanda Tommie’s potato salad with community members packing up to-go boxes to enjoy later.

Following lunch, the adults relaxed under the chickee, catching up on family and community news. Exhausted from the slide and ready to dry off, the children put on a dance show for everyone, including Tribal elder Bessie Tommie. The kids moved to the music and even got their grandma Liaison Stockton to join in on the dancing fun.

 “Today was all about getting everyone together – a time to mingle, a time to enjoy each other,” Martinez said.



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