Miami’s Surprising Past: Unveiling Indigenous Roots

Miami’s Surprising Past. Alright, so Miami’s known for its wild parties and diverse scene, but did you know it’s sitting on ancient Indigenous grounds? Way back, from 500 BCE till the 1700s, the Tequesta people were the original gang here. They had their thing going near Miami River and Biscayne Bay, running a bustling community with a solid trade game.

Betty Osceola: Keeping History Alive

Meet Betty Osceola, reppin’ the Miccosukee tribe. She’s all about spreading the word on Miami’s hidden past. But it’s not just about history for Betty—she’s on a mission to save her tribe’s home in the Everglades, which is in danger because of rising waters.

Native Legacy: Miccosukee & Seminole

The Miccosukee and Seminole tribes, they’ve been around even before Columbus showed up. These folks made their way down to Florida from Alabama and Georgia. When the government said, “Let’s move west” in the 1800s, about a hundred folks said, “Nah, we’re good,” and they hid out in the Everglades. That’s a big reason why today we’ve got the Miccosukee, Seminole, and other Florida tribes.

Everglades Adventure

Betty’s got this cool company, Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours. They give you a sneak peek into the Miccosukee world in the Everglades. Guides take you on a ride through cypress domes, mangroves, and those classic “tree islands,” all while teaching you about Miccosukee history. It’s like having a nature and history class, all in one thrilling tour!

Miami Circle: The Hidden Gem

Ever heard of Miami Circle? It’s like the Stonehenge of the States, discovered back in 1998. This 2,700-year-old spot was a major trading hub for the Tequesta. But here’s the kicker—most locals think it’s just a dog park! Plus, it’s not even recognized as a Native American site.

Development vs. History

Miami’s Surprising Past. The area along the Miami River in Brickell holds a ton of ancient Indigenous remains. With Miami booming and skyscrapers popping up left and right, guess what they’re finding? More Indigenous sites, like at 444 Brickell Avenue in 2021. Developers are digging, archaeologists are discovering treasures, but Betty and the tribe are saying, “Whoa, hold up!” Their voices aren’t part of the conversation about what happens to these sites.

Preserving the Past

Ishmael Bermudez, a local artist and self-proclaimed “amateur archaeologist,” was all about preserving history. He turned his house into the Well of Ancient Mysteries, holding artifacts and fossils he found while digging his basement. But with the city growing, he had to say goodbye to his home and his piece of history.

Miami’s Battle

All this development means Miami could lose its roots. Talbert Cypress, the big shot of the Miccosukee Business Council, is worried Miami hidden will forget its roots and turn into just another concrete jungle. The fight to protect these historical sites rages on, as ancient artifacts clash with modern construction plans.


Miami might shine with glitz and glam, but beneath it all lies a buried history waiting to be told. It’s a story of ancient peoples, forgotten sites, and a battle to keep alive what was here way before the bright lights took over.