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AUDIO PORTRAIT: 'As A Seminole Poet...It’s Always Been About The Land'

Peter Haden
Gordon Oliver "Ollie" Wareham began playing the native American flute in 2001.

Gordon Oliver “Ollie” Wareham says all of his songs tell a story.
“The best story I have is one I call “Tiger Song,’” said Wareham. "Not because of the animal tiger. It's because of a woman named Ms. Winifred Tiger.”

Tiger was Wareham’s mentor and his muse, he said. “I would go to her house and I would play different sounds for her, different songs for her,” he said.

One day while playing for Tiger, her son Mike came home. As Wareham finished his last song and started putting his flutes away, Mike Tiger asked him to play one more.

“I told him, ‘Mike, I’ve been here three and a half hours. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I want to go home,’” said Wareham. “And he goes, ’It’s been a very long day and I have a headache.’ ”

Mike Tiger replied: “One more song. One more song for the road.”

At that moment, a song came to Wareham.

“I played it for him. And I put him to sleep. I put Mr. Mike Tiger to sleep. And I put Ms. Winifred to sleep. And I put her cat asleep. And I put her dog asleep.”

Wareham picked up his flutes and walked home, he said.

“And as I’m getting home, I look in the sky and I said, ‘On this day, on this day - I put four tigers to sleep.’ This is how it gets it’s name: tiger song.”

Wareham and other Seminole artists will be at the History Fort Lauderdale museum Sunday, Nov. 6 from noon to 2 p.m. for a multimedia performance art presentation of a Seminole War battle.

November is Native American Heritage Month. History Fort Lauderdale is celebrating with “Artists Seminoli,” a month-long exhibit of drawing, painting, photography and sculpture by Seminole artists.

For more information, visit www.historyfortlauderdale.org.