Everglades / Festivals / Southeast Florida

Seminoles’ American Indian Arts Celebration: Nov. 3 – 4, 2017

Every year in early November, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum hosts the American Indian Arts Celebration (AIAC) on the museum grounds in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

Folks may expect fry bread and alligator wrestling, but when they journey into the Everglades for the Seminole Tribe’s American Indian Arts Celebration Nov. 3 to 4, 2017, they’re also going to see dancers, hear native musicians and meet some wildlife.

The Seminole’s annual cultural festival unfolds on the Big Cypress reservation, half way between Naples and Fort Lauderdale off Alligator Alley, at the exceptional Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.

Even without the festival, the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is worth a visit. It opens with a dramatic multi-screen media presentation and its well-designed dioramas and exhibits explain Seminole history and traditions.

A highlight for many visitors is the one-and-a-half-mile boardwalk through a cypress swamp adjacent to the museum. About half way through the walk, visitors come to the village and ceremonial grounds with chickees where Seminole artists and craftsmen interact with visitors.

While the festival offers a full schedule of entertainment on its main stage, many come for the Native American vendors who bring silverwork, beadwork, woodwork, basketry, leatherwork, photography, paintings, jewelry and an array of food to the Indian market.

Daily performances will include an opening ceremony by Seminole Tribal elder Bobby Henry and his team of dancers, and Native Pride Dancers from Minnesota—an internationally known high-energy show featuring an innovative blend of modern and traditional Native American dance styles.

Both days will feature live demonstrations including wood carving by Pedro Zepeda and Daniel Tommie, basket making by Donna Frank, swamp cabbage cooking by Billy Walker, art by Wilson Bowers and storytelling by Gordon Wareham.

The museum’s Quenton Cypress will emcee the festivities, including a Saturday fashion show highlighting Seminole clothing throughout the years.

The event will take place on the festival grounds across from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.

The festival includes special activities for children, including a “take-away craft.”

Native American vendors sells arts and traditional arts in the Indian market.

Native American vendors sells arts and traditional arts in the Indian market.

Alligator wrestling at Seminoles' 2010 American Indian Arts Celebration by Heather Culligan

Alligator wrestling at American Indian Arts Celebration by Heather Culligan via Flickr

More about the American Indian Arts Celebration Nov. 3 to 4

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Friday and Saturday , Nov. 3 to 4, 2017

Where:  From I-75 (Alligator Alley), take exit 49, Snake Road.  Travel north about 17 miles.   Snake Road becomes Josie Billie Highway as you enter the Seminole community.  Approximately one mile past the water tower, Josie Billie Highway intersects with West Boundary Road. The museum is on the left at the corner of West Boundary Road and Josie Billie Highway.  Museum parking is on the right, opposite the main entrance to museum.

Admission:  $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, students and military with ID. Children 4 years and under are free. This include admission to the museum and the festival. (This is the same price as museum admission alone on other days.)

Web site

More from Florida Rambler: Six places to celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November

Alligator wrestling is demonstrated at the festival.

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For more information, call 863-902-1113 extension 12211 or contact Carrie Dilley at carriedilley@semtribe.com.




  1. Hey Bonnie,

    This looks like a great celebration. I wonder if they did an RFP for this. I would have love to help out with events like these.


  2. Pingback: Indian Heritage Month: Six places to celebrate it in Florida | Florida Rambler

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