The Calusa Indian

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The Calusa Indian

By: Candace Rayford
Unit 5 IP 5


The term Native American is widely accepted as the “correct” term for the indigenous peoples that were residing in North America when the Europeans first arrived. When the Europeans touched land, they found a thriving population of people. The Europeans categorized those found into separate tribes. There was the Calusa in the Caloosahatchee region, the Mayaimi in Lake Okeechobee Basin (or Belle Glade area) and the Tequesta in the Everglades region. In this reading, I will cover the short existence of the Calusa tribe, also known as, “The Shell People”.

The Colusa tribe was originally called “Carlos” meaning “fierce people”. They were descendants of the Paleo Indians who inhabited Southwest Florida, approximately 12,000 years ago. When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500s, they were not friendly people and had no interest in missionary activities. Their society was somewhat closed off to others. When the Spanish arrived, there were an estimated 20000 Calusas in Southwest Florida. They were the people of the Caloosahatchee culture. The Calusas inhabited a territory from Charlotte Harbor to Caper Sable. This region was abundant with bears, woolly mammoths, sloths, tortoises, and saber toothed tigers. Hunting these animals was a mainstay until they discovered the waters, which was full of fish. Soon they realized that hunting for these fish took less time and allowed other things to take place. During this vacancy, it allowed them to establish their own system of centralized government. Their government was a quite complex structure involving nobility, commoners, and slaves. They constructed a canal system, developed organized religion, and created many different types of art forms. These people were functioning extremely well without the…...

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