The Everglades Florida & Buffalo Tiger

Buffalo tiger - Everglades Florida 2007

Continuing on our tour of Florida, we left the Keys behind us and headed left up the western coast of the state. The land is flat and wet and for the most part marshland, the perfect habitat for crocodiles. There is also an Indian tribe in residence called the Miccosukee. We were to meet the most respected and famous tribal leader Buffalo Tiger.

Buffalo tiger Airboat tours

For me this was a true honour and one of the highlights of my trip. My dad had told me many tales of his time with the American Indians whom he had spent time with in the US. Those moments were my dad’s spiritual highlights of his life and they comforted him tremendously when he went through the darker periods that would hit him later on in life.

everglades view

Buffalo Tiger was born in 1920, he lived in a ‘chickee’ with his parents. He has had an amazing life and achieved so much it’s worth a read up here in Wikipedia but the part I am going to tell you about today is the business he developed Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours

everglades airboat

We drove all the way from Key West to the Everglades Florida with one short break and we arrived at a wooden barn like structure on the roadside. There was a short pier and two airboats waiting for us. Buffalo Tiger, although 87, was still working the rides of which he took great pride.

everglades sacred island

Once all onboard he set off slowly and as we passed the trails cut out of the long grass he pointed out various plants and told us there names. He gave us an overview of the history of his land and his tribe. He talked with much love and passion about how he had fought hard to retain this land.

crocodiles in the everglades

He took us into thick crocodile terrain and we watched mesmerised as they came right up to the boat spying us lazily from their position. People were standing to take photos and the airboat was swaying lightly under the movement, everyone was happy to be up close with the crocs but respectful of their strength and fearful of what could happen.

crocodile everglades

We were taken a bit further into the thick of the Everglades and Buffalo Tiger showed us the sacred island on which his tribe celebrated many rituals together, for a moment I wished we could go and visit up close this special area but it wasn’t to be, rightfully so.

crocodile smile

Plus it could have been a bit of a nightmare with no visible pier and the crocs keeping a sly eye on us.

crocodile eye close up

Once back at the start we were chaperoned into the barn where Buffalo Tiger’s much younger wife awaited us with plenty of handmade crafts to buy for souvenirs. I bought Buffalo Tiger’s book to bring back home with me as I wanted to find out more about this remarkable man.

Time Traveller

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TimeTravellers

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Mummy, is God real? – Easter chats

buffalo tiger
 

The photo above was taken on a trip to Florida in 2006, the gentleman I am with is Buffalo Tiger, the leader of the Miccosukee nation in Florida between the mid 1950’s and the early 1970’s. He now runs an airboat tour company in the Florida Everglades

First you are to think always of God.
Second you are to use all your powers to care for your people and especially for the poor. – Sioux

I must confess that we are not a church going family although this doesn’t mean we don’t believe in ‘God’ it just means we haven’t found a religion that suits us. On a visit to Washington years ago one of my favourite museums was the National Museum of the American Indian, a population that has always fascinated me and one I have enormous respect for. I love their philosophy of life and believe it’s the closest I can get to explaining how I feel about God, you will find some of their quotes highlighted in this post to help understand the way they see it and maybe understand why it connects with my heart.

National_Museum_of_the_American_Indian

The one thing that matters most are the children. They are true human beings. – Lakota

All religions are but stepping stones back to God – Pawnee

At school the past few weeks there has been a lot of talking about God, I am perfectly happy with this after all Easter is a religious occasion and I’m happy for the girls to understand the origins and why it is celebrated. If you don’t know well I hate to break it to you but it’s not all about chocolate.

holy bible

I also want them to learn about other religions and living in the mixed society of Britain today this is fundamental to understanding that there are more ways than one of worshiping and it’s ok to be different.

Trouble no man about his religion – respect him in his views and demand that he respect yours. – Shawnee

I am of the belief that the girls can choose who and how they wish to worship should they want to later on in life but in the meantime I have to answer their questions to the best of my abilities and guide them to grow up as loving human beings, here was a discussion we had the other day with my answers

Ask questions from your heart and you will be answered from the heart – Omaha

Twin: Mummy, is God real?

Me: God isn’t something we can touch or feel with our hands, we can’t see God with our eyes.

Be kind to everything that lives – Omaha

Twin: Does he live above the clouds?

Me: No, if he did we’d be able to see him, he lives all around us, in the flowers, in the animals and in the world.

It makes no difference as to the name of God, since love is the real God of all the world – Apache

church cross

Twin: Did he die on the cross?

Me: No, that was a man named Jesus

Remember that your children are not your own, but are lent to you by the Creator – Mohawk

It takes a whole village to raise a child – Omaha

Twin: Does God make the people go up to heaven when they die?

Me: Yes and heaven is a lovely place where people who die will be very happy

When you die, you will be spoken of as those in the sky, like the stars – Yorok

Twin: God made the seas and the clouds and the flowers.

Me: He did, he’s very clever and makes everything we need to live a happy life

We are made from Mother Earth and we go back to Mother Earth – Shenandoah

Are you having any God conversations with your little ones? How are you tackling them?