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Tribal Historic Preservation Office investigates the Augustina Gore Camp

In February 2017, the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) completed an investigation of the historic Augustina Gore Camp on the Brighton Reservation. This investigation endeavored to determine the camp’s eligibility for the Tribal Register of Historic Places (TRHP). Investigations of historic Seminole camps represent a critical part of the Tribe’s Cultural Resource Ordinance, which strives to actively protect cultural resources throughout the development process.

The Augustina Gore Camp sits in the southeastern extent of the Brighton Reservation along Reservation Road and is now partially inundated by a modern dam. Through interviews with Donnie and Arnie Lou Gore, Augustina’s children, the THPO was able to develop a picture of life at this historic camp.

Augustina Gore was born Aug. 12, 1940 to Willie Gopher Sr. and Arnie J. Gopher Sr. She grew up with her family at the Gopher amp as part of the Brighton community, but upon her marriage to Arthur R. Gore, a white man, Augustina and her family moved to a new camp. This marked the foundation of the historic Augustina Gore Camp. At the time many believed the Gore Camp to be off reservation; however, in reality the family remained inside the reservation boundary and never actually left. Instead, Arthur and Augustina created a lively home environment at their camp on the outskirts of the reservation with their eight children – James, Randy, Tommy, Donnie, Arnie, Linda, Sidney, and Claudette.

Based on descriptions by Donnie and Arnie Lou Gore, the camp consisted of a two-bedroom trailer. Their camp was a warm and lively place where the children found many ways to amuse themselves. The children busied themselves trapping animals and mimicking the cowboys that visited their father who trained wild horses for rodeos. In particular, Arnie Lou recalls that one of her brothers wore his mother’s red heels around the camp and pretended that they were cowboy boots, becoming so excited that he ran into an oak tree. Despite many happy memories, the family eventually moved to a home on Short Street in the early 1970s.

Recording historic Seminole camps is a valuable way for the THPO to document memories and experiences of Tribal members. Interviews with community members ensure that future generations will have access to culturally significant stories and that these stories will be told from the community’s perspective. To contribute to ongoing efforts to record historic camps, please call the Tribal Historic Preservation Office at 863-983-6549 or visit the offices.

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