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Garden 429- Dorothy Scott Osceola

Posted By Paula Navarrete, Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I am dedicating this garden to Dorothy Scott Osceola (1940-1979) because she was a Seminole activist and community leader. Being a woman during difficult times and when woman usually wouldn’t have very large influence in a man powered world she still fought for social and economic improvement in the Seminole Tribe of Florida during a time when few Seminoles went to school, especially women. Dorothy saw her tribe poverty-stricken and wanted to do something about it. She was a huge advocate for the tribe’s education and keeping the traditions, culture, and history alive and fresh amongst all the members. She wanted everyone to always remember their roots and be proud for whom they are as a Seminole descendant. One thing she said was "not to worry, we can deal with the white world and keep our culture too.” She also overcame an environment of poverty to obtain an education. Osceola graduated from a Florida business college and was able to go to Washington D.C. and obtain a job at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She served as secretary treasurer of the Tribe from 1957-1960, and was admired as a leader in her community. Dorothy helped hold the tribe together during there most toughest years and never got to see the tribe break out from poverty when the casino and gaming came into play. If she were to see it she would be very happy for the fortune but very disappointed for the loss of tradition amongst the tribe community over time.  She passed away at a young age, 39 years old, but left a mark upon the Seminole tribal community in south Florida. Today, we see an education building dedicated to her and everything she believed and fought for. This building, located in Hollywood, not only promotes education but also features a day care center, the tribe’s library, and different rooms showcasing the tribe’s history.

I decided to do my garden at West Broward High School instead because I found it interesting and significant to have a school right across the Everglades and use those two aspects to bring about memories for her tribe and what she tried to implement. She was an advocate for justice and equality within her tribe and for her tribe amongst the rest of the white-American culture surrounding them. She was also an advocate, along with her sister, to have an education to use in order to better their system and make connections with governmental groups. Also, she believed to stay true for her roots along the way of being educated and making a change for their tribe. These things can all be seen or at least pondered when you visit the school, knowing it is a location for furthering a young persons education and having the Everglades across the street helps to remember the hardships the tribe went through back in those days, but regardless of the hardships they continued forward.

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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts


Xavier Cortada
Artist-in-Residence
Florida International University
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Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.






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