You are probably asking yourself “what is outreach?” Outreach is a program designed by Tina Osceola, Historic Resources Officer of the Tribal Historic Resources Office, and gives us the opportunity to educate non-Native people in venues outside of the Museum. One of our main objectives is to go to schools and teach them about Seminole culture and history straight from the “horse’s mouth” as they say. Rather than hearing it from some professor or book writer who spent time with the Seminoles, they hear about Seminole history and culture from an actual Seminole Tribal member.
My approach to presenting information to the public, is to make the audience feel rather than hear what it is like to be Seminole. I engage the audience with questions of my own. For example, I ask why do you live they way you do or why are some of your beliefs different from mine? Rather than a presentation, I interact with the people to make them feel like a part of what I am conveying to them about what it means to be Seminole. I get a little comfortable with them as well. If I am going to share something from my background I would expect that in return, Quid pro quo, Clarisse. But let’s go back a bit, when I first started in this division I had no idea what Outreach was; but then, I started to realize that this is my outlet for telling our side of the story. I think the old saying is “History is written by the victor.” And even though we won our Wars, our Seminole Wars, you do not hear too much of our side of the story; at least that’s what I remember as a student. As a pupil of the public schooling system, I became very intrigued with the history. All kinds of history, from European, Greek Mythology, American, Chinese, and Colonialism. When I took American history in high school we learned about the French and Indian Wars, the Declaration of Independence, both World Wars, and also our own wars. However, when I came to the “detailed description” of the Seminole Wars, (we fought three wars with the United States) that detailed description only filled up one –paltry paragraph. The chapter did not go into detail of how many years we fought the United States, how the wars changed a whole way of life completely, and how we are still here today. We were just one paragraph in an entire history text book.
Now, I was not mad but more disappointed than anything. People, students no less, living in Florida were not going to know the unique history Florida has and our impact on Florida. The students will only know a paragraph of what our people went through, a paragraph of our history. The history of how Florida became a state! So now working for the Museum under our Outreach Division I can now voice our history not only to kids but also high school students, college students, and anyone else who is interested. With this brilliant outreach division I can open people’s eyes to our history