Grant Year: 2023 | Focus Area: Arts, Culture & History| Amount: $108,364| Grant Status: In progress
The Santa Rosa Creek Band is descended from Creek Indians who managed to escape genocide by hiding in the river swamps and forests of Northwest Florida evaded removal from Florida by concealing their Native American identities. The Creek Band ancestors persevered in cultural survival while on the run, preserving what they could but much has been lost and is irretrievable. The Santa Rosa Creek Band is dedicated to reviving, preserving, and teaching its language, heritage, and culture to prevent its loss forever. The Band’s mission is to establish community awareness of the Santa Rosa Creek Band through education, outreach programs, and traditional events promoting the growth of and support for the Creek culture. Santa Rosa Creek Band membership is 2,000individuals and continues to grow each month, largely due to the success of community outreach programs. TheCreek Band hosts an Annual Creek Fest showcasing various aspects of Native American culture. It is a notable annual celebration that has become a notable fixture within the community and draws thousands of visitors each year. The Creek Band grounds feature a replica Creek village, immersing visitors into ancestral traditions.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT
The project is to build an authentic reproduction of a traditional-style Council Roundhouse, which held various functions in Native American communities such as serving as a venue for dances, ceremonies, or civic meetings, and providing lodging for guests. The Roundhouse’s circular structure can range from 50 to 120 feet in diameter and is constructed using poles and beams and covered with a thatch roof. The Council Roundhouse will be constructed in a traditional style and will have a diameter of 80 feet. At the center of the Roundhouse, there will be a ceremonial fire, surrounded by four pillars of White Cedar strategically placed in the cardinal directions. The floor of the building will be made of white dirt, adding to the authenticity and cultural significance of the space. The roof of the structure will be conical in shape and covered with simulated Palm Frond thatch, featuring an opening at the apex to allow the escape of smoke from the ceremonial fire. The IMPACT 100 grant will be used for the purchase of a portion of the roof system and the Z-Palm Thatch Style Shingles. The remaining funds needed to build the Council Roundhouse will be funded by the Santa Rosa Creek Band through in-kind support, membership fees, fundraising, and individual contributions.
EXPECTED IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
The Council Roundhouse will serve as a destination for family outings and school field trips while offering a comprehensive and immersive experience of Native American culture and history. The geographical impact of this initiative extends beyond Northwest Florida as the nearest council roundhouse is in Tallahassee, Florida, and the next closest one is located in Oklahoma, approximately 1,000 miles away. With a notable absence of such a structure in the region, the construction of a traditional-style Council Roundhouse in Northwest Florida will offer a unique cultural experience. It is the backdrop for sharing knowledge and stories while promoting cultural identity and unity among the people. Customs will be handed down from one generation to the next ensuring the preservation and continuation of traditions. Through interactive exhibits, engaging activities, and insightful presentations, visitors of all ages can explore and appreciate the diverse customs, beliefs, and practices that shaped Native American heritage, and the experience will foster a greater appreciation and understanding for Native American history and culture.