Immokalee took two days to celebrate Indian Day. On Sept. 26, culture was the focus while on Sept. 27 competition ruled the res.
The culture department hosted a community luncheon at the culture village. As the women cooked, men chopped wood, carved under the shade of a chickee and reminisced about old times in Mikasuki and English.
“It takes four or five months to cure the cypress,” said Council project manager Raymond Garza as he carved. “If you carve it too soon, it will split when it dries. We expose our kids to our culture and hope they will continue it, but kids have minds of their own.”
The fire in the cooking chickee was lit early and burned hot all day as the food was prepared. For the first time, the culture department used fresh pumpkin to make the pumpkin fry bread. The orbs were peeled, cut into chunks and boiled until soft. Culture instructor America Martinez took charge of the vegetable and turned it into delectable fry bread.
The lunch was a traditional feast and included spaghetti, spam and tomatoes, stew meat and rice, fried chicken, chicken and yellow rice, green beans, corn and plenty of fry bread.
The following day was all about traditional survival tactics of Seminole ancestors turned into feats of athleticism, accuracy and speed. Under a cloudless sky and in more than 90 degree heat, men and women of all ages competed in the hatchet throw, skillet throw, archery, fan tacking and log carrying.
– Beverly Bidney