The Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades


  • The Florida Everglades

Published Date

  • published 1940


A few years ago, the Indians were persuaded to give part of the dance
for tourists at Fort Myers. After an hour or so of interminable, unvaried
weaving, accompanied by the unbearable sameness of the chant, the
tourists left. The Indians, naturally indignant, cut the dance short and
refused to give it again before white visitors.

After the dancing and feasting, condemmned prisoners are tried
before a circle of old warriors.

Convicts from our own prisons have described sweatboxes they
have been in, but those might easily seem child's play to the Indian who
has had a taste of the ones constructed by his tribe. At the bottom of a
hole eight feet long and the width of the body, great rocks at white heat
are placed. Over the rocks go green boughs and palmettos to form a
highly porous mat. The prisoner is dumped on top of the mat, a cover
placed over the hold, and he is left to sweat until unconscious. Then he
is taken out and revived. The length of time of punishment is set by the
old warriors. If they decide that the prisoner has not been punished
enough, he is put back again.

Still more savage than the improvised sweatbox, in the
punishment of needles. Through a board the size of a large paddle,
strong sewing-needles are driven until they protrude on the opposite
side. The entire paddle, except the handle, is lined in this manner
and is used to rake the guilty person over the chest, back,