Source: Wall text, South Florida People and Environments, Calusa Exhibit, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida
I explored the native Calusa exhibit inside the museum and got a better understanding of how this community based their spiritual lives on their connection with the natural world.
Source: Wall text, South Florida People and Environments, Calusa Leader's House, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida
The museum recreated elements of the Calusa community and showed how they directly interacted with natural elements. I was especially impressed by the Calusa views of the afterlife. There is a display of a Florida midden, or layers of earth formed by human remains. According to Father Juan Rogel's accounts of the Calusa views of the afterlife, the Calusa believe that when we die, our souls enter other living creatures. When we kill those creatures, we are killing out human souls and our souls will be deposited into a "lesser" organism continuosly until we result in nothing. These indigienous people believed that it was essential to respect nature because it is the place within which our souls reside. This was also personified by the portion of a Florida midden, or layers of earth consisting of human remains.