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South Florida lawmakers seek boost in housing options for Miccosukee

The Capitol is seen late Tuesday night, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington, as lawmakers work to advance appropriations bills on the House floor. The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are starkly divided over very different paths to preventing a federal shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, R-Miami, teamed up to introduce a bipartisan bill Thursday in Congress to improve housing options for the Miccosukee Tribe.
FILE photo: The Capitol is seen late Tuesday night, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, R-Miami, teamed up to introduce a bipartisan bill Thursday to improve housing options for the Miccosukee Tribe.

“Our friends in the Miccosukee Tribe are good stewards and protectors of America’s Everglades, an American jewel that helps supply drinking water to millions of Floridians.” said Wasserman Schultz in a statement to WLRN. “I’m proud to partner with the Tribe and my Florida colleague on this bill so they can continue to flourish in South Florida.”

“The Miccosukee Tribe are an integral part of the South Florida community,” said Salazar in a statement to WLRN. “This bill will ensure the Miccosukee can use their resources as they need to while protecting our environment and preserving the health of the Everglades.”

The two South Florida lawmakers named their bill the "Tigertail Historical Tree Island Repatriation Act."

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If passed, it would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to realign a portion of the levee located within the Tigertail Camp to give Miccosukee Tribe members options to provide more housing for members of the Tigertail Camp family, say the lawmakers.

The Everglades has been home to the Miccosukee for hundreds of years. In the 1800s, they were forced off their land to the west, but about 100 never fled South Florida and instead hid out in the Everglades.

Tribal members now number more than 600 and are direct descendants of those who eluded capture, according to the Miccosukee Tribe website.

Sergio Bustos is WLRN's Vice President for News. He's been an editor at the Miami Herald and POLITICO Florida. Most recently, Bustos was Enterprise/Politics Editor for the USA Today Network-Florida’s 18 newsrooms. Reach him at sbustos@wlrnnews.org
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