Greetings! My name is Daffodyle Saget and I am a senior graduating this spring with a degree in Sociology and English with a minor in International Communications. I have a deep love for learning especially about us as humans from the histories that form our current reality to the psychology that motivates our actions. I guess that’s why I choose sociology as a major, it helps me understand the world around me. That’s also the reason I was pushed to take this class, I wanted to understand all that makes up my current environment. Miami is my home and when you get used to something you question it less but I want to hear this cities stories and understand its problems instead of passively living here. I am so excited to learn more than I already have!
Downtown Miami As Text
“First was the Tequesta” by Daffodyle Saget
The Tequesta were first. They were the indigenous people of South Florida and what we know now as the great city of Miami. A city that is known for its diversity and its large immigrant population pouring in from all over Latin America and the world at large. But before The Cubans, The Haitians, The Bahamians, and The Europeans there were the Tequesta and it is important to start any part of American history with Native Americans.
I was so happy we began class with Professor Bailly starting this term by visiting native sites and telling their stories. Often times they are ignored when history is covered. Most people in Miami if polled on the streets would not even be able to name the indigenous people of the city even in a multiple-choice question. Professor Bailey filled in the blanks of our history classes introducing us to the Tequesta one site at a time. I learned that the Tequesta were living in Miami and all of South Florida as early as 2,000 years ago and were killed off after contact with the Spanish leaving little evidence of their culture behind. Most depictions of the Tequesta today is fictional and likely inspired by the nearby Arawaks. Most natives in the South Florida region today were pushed down from locations further north in the state and even as far north fromstates like Georgia and Alabama. The Seminole tribe itself was formed out of displaced tribes like the Miccosukee and Choctaw.
It’s devastating to think a whole people and culture was wiped out and we will never learn what life for them was truly like. To think it all started in a circle located downtown. Standing in the Miami circle where likely the center of governance was for the Tequesta and where they greeted the Europeans it was chilling to think a city would be born thousands of years later on their graves and they would become just a sad fact. People and cultures are sacred and history has a sad way of repeating itself. I left the class even sadder knowing if we don’t learn about what happened to the Tequesta and allowed what happened to them in a way happen to the African American population in Overtown, will it soon then happen to the Haitians and Cubans that create Miami culture today. With gentrification at every corner, what will Miami look like in just a few decades…