Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Indigenous People's Day

Mon, Nov 06, 2023 at 10:21AM

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Indigenous People's Day

Mark Saturday, November 18, 2023 from 10 am to 3 pm when the National Historic Landmark Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum invite all to enjoy a day of historical remembrance, attention and awareness of our Indigenous Inhabitants or Native American populations who peopled Volusia County prior to and during the early days of European exploration, and during the later Seminole Wars. This special one-day-only event will highlight Native American heritage while providing Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum guests the unique opportunity to discover many cultural offerings of Central Florida in one convenient location.

The lighthouse staff, its docents, representatives from some of Florida’s prestigious universities, and outstanding historical organizations and museums from across Volusia County and the state will offer speakers, workshops, presentations, educational programming, and children’s take-home crafts to celebrate and commemorate the day.


Evidence has shown that Timucua indigenous inhabitants had lived for some 12,000 years in what is now Volusia County, east of the St. John’s River all the way to the sea. They developed a distinctive lifestyle, culture and even a written language. These differences will be explored in-depth to paint a picture of a society uniquely both mobile and agrarian.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is delighted to provide these programs in collaboration with other formal, established historical institutions and organizations in Volusia County. Canaveral National Seashore’s Avia Mitchell Woulard will be at the event to bring to life the history of that historic site and the cultures and customs of the Indigenous people who inhabited the area. Representing the Volusia County Library system will be both Heidi Ackerson and Kim Coffee to discuss resources of the county library for research on the local and statewide history of the three Seminole wars fought between the Seminole Tribe and the United States. During the periods of 1817-1818; 1835-1842 and 1855-1859.

Seminole War Foundation representative Rosa Godshall will discuss the foundations mission to preserve significant sites involved in the wars, publish media and books including reprints of out-of-print books, and serve as a clearing house for information on archaeological sites for future study. Andrew Foster will discuss his work with the foundation, his podcasts and his photography.

Jim Sawgrass is a native Floridian of Muscogee Creek descent and a living historian of the southeastern tribes of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. He has been sharing his knowledge of Southeastern tribes for over thirty years. He began his interest in his heritage by attending Native American festivals, Pow Wows, and historical reenactments. He has appeared nationally and has been featured on television networks such as History Channel, Travel Channel and Discovery Channel.

All day long, keeper-docents in United States Lighthouse Service uniforms will answer questions and conduct orientation tours at the lighthouse station Climbing Florida’s tallest lighthouse tower with its spectacular view from the gallery is always a special treat. In addition, the station’s many historic buildings, now museums, are devoted to the chronicle of the American lighthouse service and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse story. Each building houses interesting exhibits and artifacts, and a nationally acclaimed highlight is the Ponce Inlet Lens Museum’s collection of restored Fresnel Lenses, the first modern optic.

Admission to the special programs will be included in the regular Ponce Inlet Lighthouse fees. The special programs are on tap from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For more information please contact the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse at 386-761-1821, Extension 18 or visit either the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Calendar of Events page at www.ponceinlet.org to learn more about the day and other scheduled activities.

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