¡Comparte tu Historia!

Through my internship I have been working in the South Florida Collection Management Center. SFCM manages the collections for the four south Florida National Parks, which include Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Everglades National Park. SFCM manages and preserves historic documents, photographs, and objects that are relevant to the history of the four parks. All of these parks have archived resources that tell the complex stories of the parks. These parks are not only places where the wildlife lives; these parks also tell the story of many communities that have interacted with the land. Some of the people that have ties to the Everglades National Park are the local Cuban community. Within the past months that I have been at my internship, I have been continuously hearing similar stories in the news. The stories that I am talking about are about Cuban migrants landing in the National Parks. The Cuban community of south Florida has an extensive history that ties directly to the natural landscape and the parks. For example, Everglades National Park, the place where Cuban migrants have landed is home to one of the Nike Missile Bases, a remnant from the cold war, ready to strike at Cuba at a moments notice. Knowing that, I became curious as to what the local Cuban community thought about that, how it has shaped the local culture, and why it is not talked about more often. All that inspired the Latino Conservation Week event titled “Comparte tu Historia.” As an intern working in the archives I believe it is important to tell the story of the local Cuban community and their relationship with the park. Through our event we are asking willing participants the following questions:

  • What is your relationship to nature?
  • How did the Everglades experience effect or change your life?
  • Do you have any stories or songs about the Everglades National Park?
  • Are you aware that a Nike Missile site was operational within the Everglades National Park during the Cold War Period? What are your thoughts on that?

At first glance the Everglades may seem like uninteresting wetlands but these lands have meaning and history to many people. The Latino conservation Week and specifically the “Comparte tu Historia” event does not only connect the Latino community to the outdoors, it connects the Latino community to the narrative of the park. You are part of the story!

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