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. 2 to 3, 2018, 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.
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.”
More about the American Indian Arts Celebration Nov. 2 to 3
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday , Nov. 2 to 3, 2018
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.
John and Kenn Little, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, will be presenting their documentary, More Than a Word at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The film traces how the word “r*dskin” evolved from being a term of racist derision and slander to being the name of one of the NFL’s most beloved franchises. A panel discussion with the directors will follow.
Daily performances will include an opening ceremony by Seminole Tribal elder Bobby Henry and his team of dancers, Nakotah LaRance—six time world championship hoop dancer, and Native Pride Dancers from Minnesota—a blend of modern and traditional Native American dance styles. Wildlife shows will be provided by Billie Swamp Safari and alligator wrestling by Billy Walker. Other features: demonstrations including wood carving by Daniel Tommie, swamp cabbage cooking (with samples) by Billy Walker, Seminole food samples by Geraldine Osceola, and archery by Jake Osceola!
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.)
More from Florida Rambler: Six places to celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November
- Site for Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum
- Reviews for Ah-Tha-Thi-Ki Museum on TripAdvisor
- Nearby: Billie Swamp Safari for airboat rides, eco-tours and camping in chickee huts
- The museum’s account of the story of alligator wrestling, including oral histories and videos.
- Seminole Indian fry bread recipe
For more information, call 863-902-1113 extension 12211 or contact Carrie Dilley at [email protected]