By Christy Lorio, Buffalo Exchange New Orleans
One of the greatest things about working with secondhand clothing are the stories you hear about the inventory’s former life. Longtime customer Deedra Ludwig is doing an artist residency in Florida (see her incredible paintings at DeedraLudwig.com) and instantly recognized a pink tent dress in our window at the New Orleans location as an original Miccosukee garment from the 1970s. Located in the Everglades, this Native American tribe is known for their patchwork designs in strong colors and geometric patterns.
With a little research I was able to peek into their rich heritage. The tribe predates Columbus’ discovery of the U.S.A and were a part of the Creek Nation until they migrated to Florida. Most of the tribe was removed from the west in the Indian Wars of the 1800s, but approximately 100 hid in the Everglades swamp in Florida. Presently, the tribe has about 600 members, who are direct descendants of those who eschewed capture.
In order to survive the soggy, mosquito laden environment, the Miccosukees adapted by living in small groups in makeshift hammock style camps. They stayed there for 100 years, not wanting to assimilate into modern society. A highway was built in 1928 around their land, which proved to be a catalyst for acceptance of New World ideas. And finally in 1962 the tribe was officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a sovereign country within the United States.
For more interesting facts about the Miccosukee check out the links below.