Muckoseegee Reconstructionists

I snapped this photo on a recent airboat tour of the Everglades near Miami. Repairing damage done by Hurricane Wilma, these Muckoseegee tribesmen are reconstructing a Chickee hut on a small, gator infested island. While much has been lost as the tribe has shifted from fishing (mercury levels got too high) to casino gambling and NASCAR, it was great to see an ancient practice like Chickee building done outside the confines of the museum. My aunt Sorah, a Lubavitcher recently immigrated to South Florida, explained that they fold the palm braches in half and nail them down like shingles, slightly overlapping one another. Back in the day, they slept in the roof area (the rafters) to protect their children from the gators.