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This Miccosukee artist and activist lets the Everglades 'speak for itself'

Houston Cypress is a Miccosukee poet and environmental activist based in South Florida.
Al Diaz
Houston Cypress is a Miccosukee poet and environmental activist based in South Florida.

To the artist Houston Cypress, the Everglades is not a resource to be exploited.

It’s not a hindrance to real estate development. It’s not the antithesis of a city. It’s not an uninhabited swamp.

To Cypress, it’s home. He lives in the Glades, near Shark Valley. The Everglades are an ecosystem, yes. But first it’s a homeland. His homeland. The Everglades are an inseparable connection to his Miccosukee roots.

It’s the basis for his art.

Cypress is one of the best known indigenous Floridian artists. His focus is telling the story of the Everglades. A story that is too often told by people whose ancestors didn’t grow up there.

He advocates for protecting its environment. He tries to bridge its connections to urban areas like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — all of which border the Everglades.

He also uses his point of view as a queer artist to tell the story of the Everglades. Why it’s essential, foundational and the essence of Florida.

On the May 4 episode of Sundial, Cypress joins us to talk about his work as the co-founder of the Love the Everglades Movement and his home.

On Sundial’s previous episode, the founder of Azucar Ice Cream in Little Havana told us how she went from being a mortician to banker to ice cream shop owner.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us by emailing us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.