The Red Barn as Community Heritage
The vernacular architecture of the Seminole Tribe of Florida has largely been given short shrift by architectural historians who tend to celebrate brick-and-mortar construction able to last hundreds of years. Traditional Seminole chickee construction emphasizes sustainable building techniques. Chickee structures were built for the needs of a population who frequently moved as a result of the relentless pursuit of the U.S. Army and the ongoing search for available resources. Approaching the issue of architectural heritage management is therefore significantly different in an on-reservation setting. While necessary as part of the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 review process, opportunities for the tribal architectural historian to engage in meaningful projects with the community were extremely limited. Against this background, the Red Barn project represents a sea change in the history of the THPO and as a partner for community heritage activism.
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