I don't know why this bothered me this weekend, because I have heard it before. It is nothing new. Maybe my skin bleached out this past winter, or I just need to start wearing paint again. But many people kept coming up and asking if I was Seminole.
But what bothers me is that nobody asks the Spanish interpreters why they aren't Spanish. Or why the British Loyalist interpreters are not British. Or why doesn't anyone ask the Calusa interpreters if they are Calusa? I don't think anyone asked our Buffalo Soldier if he was related to a Buffalo Soldier.
Here is what we are doing: We are historical interpreters and presenting / portraying a living snapshot of life, history, and culture of particular people during a particular time period. I never claim to me a member of the Seminole Tribe. Yes, I do have Native ancestry, but I consider that with a grain of salt. As far as I have been able to trace, it is with the Perryman family are familiar among the Creeks. I can't do anything about who my ancestors were. Still, I am not confused about who I am and why I am here. I have lived in Florida for much of my life and consider it my home and the people as my people. I have also lived in Alabama, Arizona, Germany, and Israel in the past 27 years--they were nice too, but I came back to Florida.
Florida history and environment are things that are not being taught to the general public in Florida. So it is not only my occupation, but mission to inform people of it. If we forget about these things, we are in big trouble. People in general here in Florida do not know who they are and why they are here. They need to learn about their local surroundings, environment, and history.
I think we have the most amazing history in Florida, and more diverse than the rest of North America. That is why these timeline events are so fun. Florida history has the most interesting characters involved from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures.
The environment of Florida is unique in the world. We have the largest biomass in the world here on the southwest coast. We have the largest Mangrove forest in the world. We have the largest living estuaries in the world that breed a large part of the world's fish and shellfish. People need to be aware of this.
This is truly a paradise. When the Spanish arrived and asked about gold or treasure, a native man handed him a spool of cotton. How much of the U.S. and world history were tied up in cotton afterwards? How much of our economy was driven by cotton, and continues to be? That was a treasure that turned out to be more important than gold.
Florida, you gotta love it.