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Museum represents tribe at peace conference

Abena Robinson led a session on “Peace and the True Seminole Story.” (Courtesy photo)

Three tribal employees recently served as delegates for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at a five-day peace conference in Trinidad – a first.

The International Peace Research Association’s (IPRA) “Rooted Futures: Visions of Peace & Justice” event in late May was attended by Abena Robinson, Cypress Billie and Van Samuels. The trio were also conference presenters.

“[It was] a unique opportunity for an international audience to hear from tribal members, museum educators and Seminole experts with the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum,” Robinson said.

Cypress Billie wears traditional clothing at the conference. (Courtesy photo)

The conference was held at the Hilton Trinidad & Tobago Conference Centre. About 400 people attended.

Robinson is a museum education coordinator, while tribal members Billie and Samuels are museum educators.

Robinson’s session topic was “Tribal Perspectives: Peace and the True Seminole story.” It included a workshop on Seminole-inspired books. Billie and Samuels shared aspects of Seminole culture, including music and clothing, at their “Addressing Aspects of Seminole Culture” session. Robinson and Samuels were also featured guests on the local morning TV show “NOW” to promote their sessions and the conference.

“Many people associate the Seminoles with the Hard Rock, but there is a plethora of information regarding these unconquered, resilient people,” Robinson said. “It was a great opportunity to tell the true Seminole story in Trinidad.”

According to its website, IPRA was formed in 1964 as a nonprofit international scientific association of peace researchers and educators with a mission to “advance research into the conditions of peace and the causes of war and other forms of violence.”

For more information on IPRA and the conference, go to To view the morning show video featuring Robinson and Samuels, search “IPRA conference” on YouTube.