Florida has a rich and multidimensional past. Prior to the arrival of Europeans on its shores, it was home to a diverse array of Native American cultures. Many were fisher folk, living close to estuaries and bays that teamed with fish, shellfish, and marine mammals. Others were agricultural societies in which individuals labored in fields controlled by a powerful regional chief. Archaeology has revealed evidence of temples and ball courts; complex burial rites and simple family hearths; intricate copper breastplates and beads made of local shell; sacred landscapes and seasonal hunting camps; pottery and tools, weapons and weaving. The evidence of these cultures stretches back nearly 15,000 years. This is our state’s cultural heritage. The artifacts, archaeological and historical sites, traditions of today’s native peoples, documents and historic records are all cultural resources; through these resources we learn about the past.
Martin County is proud to be a member of The Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage. Martin County has several has locations that are officially recognized including the House of Refuge, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Mount Elizabeth Archeological Site, and the Seminole Inn.
The Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage, Inc. is a Florida-based 501c3 nonprofit network of archaeological sites, history museums, heritage interpreters and county, state, and national parks working together with the mission to promote responsible site visitation and public education of Florida’s Indian heritage. They produce the “Florida Native American Heritage Trail” guide, which includes more than 100 destinations where visitors can experience the rich history and modern culture of Florida’s native people. This publication also provides an account of the 12,000-plus years of Native American presence and significance in Florida, and includes special interest topics and biographies of individuals important to Florida’s Native American heritage are presented throughout the publication.