Meet real Gladesmen Sunday at BassPro

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Last week The News-Press published a series about the Gladesmen culture still clinging to existence in the far reaches of the Everglades.

In 2014 we produced an even larger project about the Miccosukee and Seminole natives in Florida, with the goal of letting people who live in or near the Everglades tell their version of this unique landscape.

This follow-up is similar, but focuses on some of the pioneer families that settled in the Everglades in the 1800s and early 1900s. Information and trends traveled by word-of-mouth in that era, and not many folks were going to or coming from the Everglades.

In that social vacuum developed the Gladesmen culture, which is kind of like Cajun culture minus the wonderful eateries and star-packed music festivals.

It’s pretty easy to get in touch with state and federal agencies charged with restoring the Everglades, but the people who know this land the most are harder to come by.

Our stories, photos and videos, though, are first-hand – and sometimes second-hand accounts. Our account mixes observation with interviews, a little he-said she-said and a dash of storytelling. We reported about their lives in relationship to the harsh but beautiful landscape.

We couldn’t figure out a way to bring all of our readers out to meet the Gladesmen (it’s a long drive and many of the conditions aren’t all that safe), so we decided instead to bring them to you.

Sunday afternoon The News-Press will be at BassPro with some Gladesmen, LeRoy Osceola (a traditional Miccosukee leader who was featured in the Voices of the Everglades native series) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Readers can make reservations online at

Visit The News-Press website to read the full article.

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