Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Calusa Natives by Ben Gangaware

Day 3 12/28/11
HMCC on a gumbo-limbo tree
            When I woke up this morning I did not want to leave my tent. I had an excellent night’s sleep. After eating breakfast we got ready to meet Tom at 9 o’clock and head back out into the swamp. Today Tom showed us a Calusa mound. A Calusa mounds are built of earth and shells and is where the Calusa Natives buried their dead. They also lived on these mounds as they were high and dry. You can tell it’s a Calusa mound because the Everglades are flat and in the middle of the woods is a large dirt mound that is fairly narrow but long.  The one we explored was about two soccer fields long. 
Tom with a Calusa tool from a conch shell

These people controlled the Southwest region of Florida and were encountered first by the Spanish in the 1500's.  The Calusa fed on the rich diversity of the region, but were known for their diet of shellfish of which they built their mounds.  By the 1700's this culture had been decimated by slavery of other tribes and disease introduced by the Spanish and French explorers.   

We ate our lunches on top of the mound. For lunch we had summer sausage and Colby jack cheese on a tortilla, along with gorp and carrots. We all sat on a gumbo-limbo tree and listened to Tom talk as we ate our lunch. I learned a great amount of information from Tom. One thing Tom said was “ No matter what talent you possess whether it’s doing backflips or being able to balance things on your nose or thumbs, don’t ever sell your self short”. 
-Ben Gangaware

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