Recording Historic Camps as Heritage
Oral histories concerning the clan camps of the early and mid-twentieth century are still abundant today, but it is feared much of this important history will be lost within a generation. Tribal schools realize the importance of teaching this recent history as it was during these times that Seminole families were still entirely self-sufficient, growing and hunting the majority of their subsistence base. The self-sufficiency ethos is a key part of cultural identity and one that helps define who the Seminole people are. As the authors explain, the research undertaken by the THPO to document these reservation-era camps is driven by a community need to actively manage and preserve this information for future generations of Tribal members. The importance of this work is driven home if you are lucky enough to witness a Tribal school group visiting a historic camp; armed with maps and plans showing where houses and gardens were located students can immerse themselves in their own history. Archaeology adds to this story by providing not only the means to capture a picture of the camp that can be combined with oral histories but also to provide a tangible tool by which students can actively participate in the learning process.
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