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Photos: Big Cypress community celebrates Indian Day

Mary Tigertail works diligently at the log-peeling contest. (Damon Scott)

BIG CYPRESS – It was the first day of fall Sept. 23, but on the Big Cypress Reservation it felt more like typical Florida summer weather. With barely a cloud in the sky and a hot sun shining on the Junior Cypress Rodeo Arena grounds, the Big Cypress community came out to celebrate Indian Day.

After a light breakfast, tribal members gathered to sign up for the first two events of the day – the skillet toss and log peeling contests. Once lunch was over it was time for the hatchet toss and archery contests, the barefoot race and canoe race, followed by a fry bread cook-off and egg toss.

Evening festivities included a community dinner and clothing contest.

Melissa Ayulo, left, special events coordinator for the Big Cypress Council office, and Marlin Miller-Covarrubias, executive assistant to Councilwoman Mariann Billie, hold Big Cypress Indian Day T-shirts. (Damon Scott)
Barbara Billie participates in the skillet toss contest. (Damon Scott)
Big Cypress Board Representative Nadine Bowers prepares to toss a skillet. (Damon Scott)
From left to right are Mohayla B. Billie, Miss Florida Seminole Thomlynn Billie, Allekeao Billie and Jr. Miss Florida Seminole Tahnia Billie. (Damon Scott)
From left to right are Jr. Miss Florida Seminole Tahnia Billie, Big Cypress Councilwoman Mariann Billie and Miss Florida Seminole Thomlynn Billie. (Damon Scott)
Chief Billie and his family take a few minutes to rest in the shade. (Damon Scott)
Abigail Tigertail concentrates intently as she peels a log. (Damon Scott)
Pauletta Bowers participates in the log-peeling contest. (Damon Scott)
Jordan Vereen carries Cher to the Indian Day festivities. (Damon Scott)