"INDIGENOUS ECOLOGIES AND THE EVERGLADES"
A Dialog with Miccosukee Houston R. Cypress and Anthropologist Dennis Wiedman
Indigenous peoples around the world continue to express their views that natural and physical environments are being harmed by humans whose philosophies of life do not respect the Earth. The 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples confirmed their rights to traditional lands, resources, language, medicines, religions, media and culture. Anthropologist, Dr. Dennis Wiedman reflects upon the political and environmental changes occurring over the past centuries that disenfranchised Native Americans from their lands, their resources and their sacred places. Houston Cypress, member of the Miccosukee Otter Clan, brings an Indigenous world view to the public through his videos, words and actions. For the past several decades there has been a renaissance of Indigenous arts, music, and religions here in the US and throughout the world. The Indigenous voice is now being heard in films, music, the internet and in the courts.
Contemporary Native American scholars, artists and film makers are bringing to the public their ways of knowing about life, the Earth and human relationships with the Earth. Many of these express the Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives as caretakers of the Earth, as compared to those who view the Earth and resources as objects to be exploited, controlled, bought and sold. With environments being modified, polluted, and spoiled, this dialog and discussion of these differing world views may lead to reconciliation and a better understanding of how public policies can respect the Earth.
Here in South Florida where the natural Everglades, rivers, and wetlands were drained, canaled, controlled, filled-in and polluted, Indigenous Peoples continue to express their concerns about the quality of water and how it affects all human and biological life in the Everglades. In this evening of information sharing, dialog and discussion, Houston and Dennis compare and contrast these contested world views about the environment and nature facilitating a better understanding of the restoration of the Everglades and the need for public policies that respect the earth affecting the future quality of life for generations of South Floridians.
Dr. Dennis Wiedman is an anthropologist whose life long work on Native American health extends from the Miccosukee of South Florida, to the Delaware, Apache and Cherokee Tribes of Oklahoma, and the Inupiat of Northern Alaska. His research has ranged from traditional healing to contemporary health problems, from Peyotism as a health care delivery system, to the causes of Native American diabetes and the global increase of diabetes with modernity. Since receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, he has taught for many years at Florida International University where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies. His latest work is published in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and the American Indian Quarterly.
Houston Cypress, an Otter Clan member of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Houston grew up in the swamps of the Florida Everglades, blazing trails through the bush. The endangered beauty of the natural environment made such an impression on him during his childhood – being a refuge for his ancestors and the source of traditional plant medicines – that he grew to find ways to articulate strategies for preserving this World Heritage Site. Art, communications and spirituality are some of the modalities and techniques that he employs through his collaborations with the following organizations Miccosukee Magazine TV; Film, Recording & Entertainment Council, FREC Star Gala, Medicine Signs Spiritual Center, Camposition, Inc. and the Love The Everglades Movement. Houston is committed to supporting his society of clans by assisting in cultural preservation, environmental protection, community outreach, business development, media & event production and strengthening sovereignty. He resides on the Miccosukee Reservation located west of Miami, Florida and he maintains a number of traditional villages located on tree islands scattered throughout Water Conservation Area 3A -- the area known as the historic River of Grass, and called by his community: Kaahayatle, which can be translated as "Shimmering Waters".
In consideration of the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 4, Amendment 1 which is about the environmental protection will be discussed. To learn more about the ballot initiative, check out www.FloridaWaterLandLegacy.org and www.VoteYesOn1FL.org - for more information.
*MOKSHA ART GALLERY EXHIBITION*
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014:
Doors open at 7:00pm
Lecture begins at 7:30pm (sharp) -10:00 pm
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$15 donation at door
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Come early for refreshments and snacks from Plaiedean Lounge.
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