On October 18th, 2018, FIU Honors students of Art Society Conflict 2018-2019 hiked to the Tequesta Burial Mound at the Deering Estate. Following their experience on the hike, students shared their voices and opinions through photographs and personal reflections.
The past is always with us. We remember great personalities that lived hundreds, maybe thousands of years in the past. From handprints in caves to major historical events, we are constantly faced with the past. We are faced with the great, but what about the common? What about the simple man, the workers? What about you and me? We do not want to be forgotten, craving recognition. In truth, the great majority of people are wiped out from the earth’s history. Dust in the wind. This brutal reality is hard to accept. People are self-centered, we like to believe we are different, we are special, that we are not dust in the wind. But we are. The Tequesta burial mound in the Deering Estate brought this sentiments, forever lingering in the back of my head, to center stage. They were the common, the simple man, the you and me, part of a civilization wiped out by conquerors and their invisible weapons. Now, 500 years later, we do not have anything left of them. We do not even know how the way they looked, the sound of their language, their culture. The whole tribe is dust in the wind, as I am, as all of us are, and so many, millions upon millions, were before us. The past we know is composed of a few pieces of a 4000000 piece puzzle. Pieces which may exist in an afterlife, or may be lost forever. Eventually, it will come the time for all of us to join the magnificent puzzle of the universe, but until then, we should live the best possible life, and remember we will die.
Primus Devine was the name of my great great great grandfather. He lived most of his life a slave in South Carolina. He tasted freedom perhaps a decade. We know almost nothing about him. Had I not had an insatiable curiosity at age 17, we may still not know his name. He is the farthest back my family (on my mother’s side) has been able to go in our ancestry. I have always clinged to the stories my grandmother has told me of her childhood growing up in 1950s South Carolina. Although her family was poor, her stories are rich with a boundless love. Exploring the Deering Estate and the untouched landscape that stretched beyond the house reminded me of my perpetual attachment to the past. The ways in which time cruelly escapes me. The ways in which the walls of an old building whisper stories. We adventured into a pure paradise. Then to that of a grave. We don’t even know their names. But their bones stay. The sky is still bleached blue. Papaya hangs from branches and rests on fallen trunks. Green but rotting. I think of the grave again. Have we failed them? Have we failed each other? Daggers and death still live on. The trees speak. The trees sing. The trees weep. Listen, Miami.
At the Deering Estate, we got to see plenty of great things. More specifically, we got to dive into the history of the Tequestas – people that predate all of us living in Florida today. We got to see more than that as well, however. We saw varieties of plant life, various natural sights, and even learned (both visually and through Professor Bailly’s lectures) about the way life worked and still continues to. I think one of the most visually impressive things I saw was the enormous solution hole. I have seen several smaller ones that alligators go into when I’ve visited the Everglades, for example. But this was something else. Not only was it several upon several times larger than any solution hole I had ever seen, but there were many things within that gather over time, which can’t be seen in otherwise smaller solution holes seen at the Everglades.There were other instances where I was both immersed and immensely interested. Seeing animal remains, and even remains of what Tequestas considered tools, and even listening to the stories of how the Tequestas themselves were buried face down with their heads together, for example. These were all things that drew me in and kept me wanting more from this outing. I hoped it wouldn’t end, but all things must, after all. I’m looking forward to what else this class has in store for us.
ASC Fall 2018 Student Gallery from Tequesta Burial Mound Hike at Deering Estate