Big Cypress Shootout Seminole War Reenactment

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

One of the coolest historical events we've seen is coming up at the end of February. If you have travel plans to Florida this winter, be sure to catch this! The Seminole Tribe of Florida is presenting its 2nd annual Seminole War Reenactment, called the Big Cypress Shootout. We were lucky enough to talk with Cindy Malin, of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, to learn more about this event. Here's what she had to say...

 

 

Seminole Tribe of Florida

 

WE:  Please tell us about the Big Cypress Shootout 2nd Seminole War
Reenactment...Take a Step Back in Time.

CM: The Seminole Tribe of Florida will present a reenactment of the Second Seminole War at the Big Cypress Shootout February 27 – March 1, 2009 at Billie Swamp Safari located between Fort Lauderdale and Naples, on the Big Cypress Reservation just north of I-75 (Alligator Alley) Exit 49.

 

The battle reenactments honor the Seminole’s struggle and sacrifice to remain in their homeland and will feature authentic weapons, soldier and warrior attire and tactics typical of the Second Seminole War.

 

In the 1830’s, the United States was attempting to enforce its policy of Indian removal.  The Seminoles were facing the loss of their homeland and their freedom.  After broken treaties and failed peace parleys, the Seminoles took up arms against removal.  The US Government thought they could quickly overpower the Seminoles and waged the fiercest of all wars ever waged between the US Government and Native Peoples.  They burned settlements and captured, killed and scattered many Seminole families.  This seven year war cost more than the American Revolution and involved 52,000 soldiers fighting against less than 2,000 warriors.  The Seminoles fought with courage and determination and had a unique knowledge of the land.  Although many Seminoles were killed or removed to present-day Oklahoma, they were never defeated, and to this day their 3500 descendants are known as “The Unconquered” Seminole Tribe of Florida.

 

 

Seminole Tribe of Florida

 

 

WE: Who participates in the reenactment?

CM: Seminole Tribal Members, other Native Americans and people who have a love for American history and do this as a hobby.

 

 

WE: What other educational and cultural activities are offered for visitors?

CM: The three-day event will also include music, Seminole food and American fare, Seminole and pioneer artisans, tomahawk throws, primitive archery competition, authentic Seminole and soldier camps, venomous snake shows, alligator wrestling and fireworks.  “Period settlers” from around the country will hew wood, iron and silver crafts and depict trading techniques from the Seminole war era.

 

Seminole Tribe of Florida

 

 

WE: Please tell us more about the Seminole Tribe of Florida...

CM: Best bet is to look through their website (www.semtribe.com) and also the  Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s website (www.ahtahthiki.com)

 

 

WE: Where can people find more information on accommodations, etc.?

CM: The chickees at Billie Swamp Safari are sold out during the event.  Closest cities for accommodations are Clewiston and Greater Fort Lauderdale (Weston area.)

 

 

WE: Are there ways for visitors to give back? Is the event a non-profit, or
can we help in other ways?

CM: Great question!  The more people we can educate about the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the better.  Bringing groups to the event, Billie Swamp Safari and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum will help in that process.  They are Florida’s history!

 

 

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

CM: Here is a bit of insight about the goals of the event:     

•     To let the Seminole Tribe of Florida show their interpretation of the struggles and sacrifices their ancestors made during the Seminole Wars.  The 2nd Seminole War from 1835-1842 (which this event portrays) was the costliest, longest and bloodiest of all Indian wars.

•     To provide South Florida residents – from school children to scouts to interested general public - the chance to witness the recreation of an important historical event.

•     Show that the Seminole Tribe’s history involves more than bingo and casinos.

•     To provide visitors to the South Florida area an opportunity for a unique experience.

•     Provide Seminole youth with an opportunity to learn more about their history.

•     To position this event as a “must see/must do” annual event.

 

This event certainly raises awareness of the struggles and sacrifices of the Seminole Tribeof Florida and gives a “real-life” glimpse into their history and culture.  Thisevent/experience could not be portrayed in textbooks the same as it could at this live reenactment event.  

 

Seminole Tribe of Florida

 

 

WE: Thanks so much, Cindy! This sounds like a fantastic learning opportunity, as well as a great deal of fun!

 

More information:

SEMINOLE WAR REENACTMENT, HISTORIC AND CULTURAL DISPLAYS HIGHLIGHT THE
BIG CYPRESS SHOOTOUT

 

WHAT:           Seminole Tribe of Florida will present a reenactment of the Second Seminole War at the Big Cypress Shootout at Billie Swamp Safari located between Fort Lauderdale and Naples, on the Big Cypress Reservation just north of I-75 (Alligator Alley) Exit 49.

 

The battle reenactments honor the Seminole’s struggle and sacrifice to remain in their homeland and will feature authentic weapons, soldier and warrior attire and tactics typical of the Second Seminole War.

 

The three-day event will also include music, Seminole food, Seminole and pioneer artisans, tomahawk throws, primitive archery competition, authentic Seminole and soldier camps, venomous snake shows and alligator wrestling.  “Period settlers” from around the country will hew wood, iron and silver crafts and depict trading techniques from the Seminole war era.

 

Musical guests include: Okefenokee Joe, Benjamin Dehart (The Cracker Tenor) and Cowbone.

                       

WHEN:           Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1, 2009

The battle reenactments will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

 

WHERE:         Billie Swamp Safari, located between Fort Lauderdale and Naples, on the Big Cypress Reservation just north of I-75 (Alligator Alley) Exit 49.

                       

WHO:             In the 1830’s, the United States was attempting to enforce its policy of Indian removal.  The Seminoles were facing the loss of their homeland and their freedom.  After broken treaties and failed peace parleys, the Seminoles took up arms against removal.  The US Government thought they could quickly overpower the Seminoles and waged the fiercest of all wars ever waged between the US Government and Native Peoples.  They burned settlements and captured, killed and scattered many Seminole families.  This seven year war cost more than the American Revolution and involved 52,000 soldiers fighting against less than 2,000 warriors.  The Seminoles fought with courage and determination and had a unique knowledge of the land.  Although many Seminoles were killed or removed to present-day Oklahoma, they were never defeated, and to this day their 3500 descendants are known as “The Unconquered” Seminole Tribe of Florida.

 

CONTACT:    For more information, call: 1-800-GO-SAFARI, email: shootout [at] semtribe.com or visit us online

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

 

 

 

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