Food of the Florida Indians

Food of the Florida Indians


  • Food of the Florida Indians

Published Date

  • published 1940



Before the colonization of Florida by the Spanish, the Indians
knew little about agriculture and were forced to rely on their ability to
hunt and fish for much of their food. As a rule, when game was scarce,
the tribe suffered; when game was plentiful, the tribe feasted.

During Rene de Laudonniere's expedition in Florida in 1564,
Le Moyne, commentator of the party, wrote that "the Indians traded
such things as were used by them for the support of life. Such were
grains of maize roasted ground into flour. Some presented whole cars
of maize and smoked lizards. Still others presented wild animals and
various kinds of roots.

From all historical reports, maize, or corn, was the chief crop.
The Indians prepared the soil with crude implements made of fish bone
and wood, then planted the seed in holes drilled with sharpened sticks.
After planting, the Indians retired to their homes in the forest and paid
no more attention to the crop until harvest.

When the grain was gathered, it was stored for the year's use in
roomy, low granaries built of earth and stones, roofed thickly with
palm branches. The storehouses were usually built into the side of a
hill to protect the grain from the rays of the sun.