Throughout November, Native American Heritage Month celebrates the cultures, histories, and countless contributions that Native American communities have provided to the United States. The Girl Scouts Native American Heritage Month Celebration fun patch provides you with the opportunity to learn more about the cultures of the Indian Nations in your state an across the country.
While you work on the patch requirements, why not take a road trip to visit some sites that are both historically and culturally significant to the Native American tribes in Florida. Here are some of our favorites in our council (from West to East).
Indian Temple Mound Museum | Fort Walton Beach
The museum houses interpretative exhibits depicting 12,000 years of Native American occupation. More than 1,000 artifacts of stone, bone, clay, and shell are here, as well as one of the finest collections of prehistoric ceramics in the Southeastern United States. Exhibits also include artifacts from the European Explorers, local pirates, and early settlers.
Florida Caverns State Park |Marianna
Archaeological discoveries of pottery sherds and mammoth footprints in several of the caverns predate European settlement in North America. But the site factors into Florida’s more recent history, too. In 1674, Spanish missionary Friar Barreda, allegedly delivered a Catholic sermon or mass amid the backdrop of the underground wonderland. Some folklore also suggests a group of Seminoles trying to escape Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal took refuge in the caverns in the 1830s.
Mission San Luis | Tallahassee
At Mission San Luis Apalachee-Spanish Living History Museum, first-person interpreters, reconstructed colonial buildings, archaeological exhibits, and hands-on workshops immerse you into the world of the Spanish colonists and Apalachee Indians who have lived in this Franciscan mission community during the 17th century. Mission San Luis has the unique opportunity and responsibility, through its intriguing history, educational programming, public awareness projects, and special events, to share with you the history and archaeology of Florida’s colonial past.
Florida Museum of Natural History at UF | Gainesville
Florida's official state natural history museum and one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing natural history museums. In the South Florida People & Environments gallery at the Florida Museum of Natural History, visitors enter a palm-thatched building which is a Calusa leader’s house. The Northwest Florida Waterways and Wildlife gallery allows visitors to travel back in time along the Apalachicola River to a Native American trading scene set in 1300 A.D., when northwest Florida was a major political and cultural crossroads.
Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve | Jacksonville
The history and culture of the Preserve stretches over 6,000 years. Hear the life stories of the native people who survived in Florida's environment prior to European contact. Learn of the clash of cultures that occurred as nations converged, from Europeans attempts at colonization to the struggles of enslaved African peoples. Experience more modern trends such as the growing tourism industry and present community efforts to sustain modern life while preserving our local environment and its history.
For more locations, be sure to check out the Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage. It was an invaluable resource while researching this blog.