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Native American connection to Everglades featured online

The Seminole Tribe has always understood the importance of the Everglades to life past and present. Now that two recent lists have noted that bond, perhaps others will understand it a little better as well.

The U.S. Department of the Interior published a list of “10 public lands with powerful Native American connections” on Nov. 8.

The agency is tasked with overseeing public lands and upholding federal trust responsibilities to Indian tribes and Native Alaskans.

“All public land was once tribal land. From the Seminole people of the Everglades to the Athabascans who gave Denali its name, Native Americans have a connection to every national park, wildlife refuge and wilderness across the country,” an introduction to the list said.

The section on Everglades National Park expanded on its connection with the Seminole Tribe and the Miccosukee Tribe.

“ … ‘Yat’siminoli,’ means ‘free people’ in the Seminole language. Their namesake pays homage to their history of resistance against both Spanish and American forces,” it said. “The late 1700s and 1800s were marked by many conflicts and unofficial wars. Eventually, more than 3,000 Seminoles were forcibly removed their lands on their own prolonged Trail of Tears. However, a few hundred Seminoles hid in the Everglades and never signed a peace treaty.”

A U.S. Department of the Interior list about public lands with ‘powerful Native American connections’ includes a section about the connection of the Everglades and Seminoles. (Image via

Joining Everglades National Park on the list of 10 are:

• Devils Tower National Monument (Wyoming)
• Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)
• Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Washington)
• Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site (Montana and North Dakota)

• Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
• Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)
• Crow Canyon Petroglyphs (New Mexico)
• Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (crosses nine states)
• Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site (North Dakota)

Read the full post by DOI here.

‘Grassy waters’

Meanwhile on Nov. 7, published its list of “10 landmarks you didn’t know had Native American origins.”

“Native Americans built vibrant communities in what is now the United States before colonizers arrived,” the introduction said. “Some of their villages, sacred sites, and names remain, while others have been razed, renamed or forgotten.”

The Everglades made the list of 10, and while its section doesn’t mention the Seminole Tribe specifically, it notes the Tequesta, Calusa, Jeaga, Ais and Mayaimi.

Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona (Image via

“The Everglades in Florida were full of Native American communities,” a citation reads. “The plains region south of Lake Okeechobee once contained small camps and was used for canoe travel, and buildings on the western edge appear to have been more permanent. The area was known as ‘pa-hay-okee,’ translating to ‘grassy waters.’ When Europeans arrived between 1500 and 1750, they found five separate, well-established tribes totaling about 20,000 people.”

Joining the Everglades on the list of 10 are:

• Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona (built on sacred Hualapai land).
• Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis (name was changed to honor Native Americans).
• Alcatraz Island in San Francisco (used by Native communities to house those who broke tribal laws).
• Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado (contains remnants of the ancestral pueblo culture).
• Niagara Falls in New York (name comes from the Native American village of Onghiara).
• Four Corners Monument in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah (run by the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation).
• Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho (has 26 tribes connected to areas and resources within it).
• Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota (was carved into the Black Hills – a sacred site for the Lakota Sioux).
• Denali, the tallest mountain in the U.S. located in Alaska (central to the Athabascans’ traditional beliefs about the creation of the world).

To read the full citations click here.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at