Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Joe Crankshaw: Miccosukee tribe in a new war with civilization -- over water
By Joe Crankshaw, columnist
March 25, 2004
The only sounds were the water lapping on the sides of the four airboats floating beside a small island deep in the Florida Everglades, the call of a heron somewhere, and the voices of our Miccosukee guides. The boats floated on dark water, cluttered with small islands or clumps of grass, and the sky was a giant bowl arcing over us from horizon to horizon, steel blue and dotted with small clouds.
Except for the airboats, there was no indication of civilization anywhere. Yet, to our guides this was home, a place of fond memories of a simple life of hunting, fishing and living with nature. But, it was those things no more.
"Once," said our lead guide, the venerable Buffalo Tiger, a tribal elder, "I could drink from these waters." He swept his arm around the horizon to indicate where he could drink. "But no more. The white man has poisoned them with his refuse. I hope that one day, I will be able to drink here again."
This article is good overall. The main problem is the article's title. It implies the Miccosukee Indians aren't civilized while non-Indians are.
Although Crankshaw probably didn't write the headline, his first couple paragraphs echo the headline's theme. The Everglades wilderness is devoid of civilization, he suggests, but it's home to the Miccosukee. Actully, a typical Miccosukee probably doesn't live in the middle of an uninhabited water plain. He probably lives nearby in a decent house—one with four walls, a roof, running water, and electricity. That's his home, not the wet, cold outdoors.
No indication of civilization except the airboats? How about the presense of living, breathing tribal elders, who are presumably well-dressed and well-spoken? They're more of a sign of civilization than a road or building, which may have been abandoned decades or centuries ago.
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